Tag Archives: Jay-Z

The Sound of Money

Beyoncé and Jay-Z have, it is reported, as who can really be certain about hot celebrity goss, bought a house in Malibu for $200 million. It measures 30,000 square feet. Or about half the size of a football field. Apparently a Roomba i7 can clean as many as 2,500 square feet. So arguably the Carter family might need 12 of the devices. However, the battery charge would be such that a given vacuum can handle 1,000 square feet before a need to recharge. So it could be that they need 30. Which probably wouldn’t be much of a problem. And while the $200 million for a house is something that probably none of us has a good metric to compare it to, know that Oprah reportedly (remember, the factual uncertainty of things) bought her digs in Montecito—about 60 miles up the coast from Malibu—for a mere $52-million. Of course, it is smaller, though not exactly a starter: 23,000 square feet.

All of which is to say that doesn’t it make you wonder whether you should have actually listened to your parents and instead become a musical sensation such that you could have wed another musical sensation so that now you’d have to ponder the potential annoyance of a fleet of robot vacuums?


Jay-Z spent some $1.1 million in 2015 to purchase TIDAL, the streaming service that had been founded a year prior. Timing is everything, it seems. He sold the company to Block (previously known as “Square”) in 2021 for some $300-million. (Yes, even with COVID-caused inflation, the value of that $300-mil would be more than enough for a manse and a phalanx of i7+ models.) However, Jay-Z and Beyoncé—as well as performers ranging from Arcade Fire to Madonna, Chris Martin to Rihanna—continue as stakeholders.

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Ain’t We Got Fun?

Edvard Munch, a Norwegian artist, painted The Scream in 1893. Fast forward 128 years and there could be the sound of a wail heard from the fjords: Jack Dorsey purchased “a significant portion” of streaming service Tidal from Shawn Carter for $297-million. One assumes that when you’re dealing with that kind of money “Jay-Z” isn’t on the paperwork. Carter bought what was to become Tidal from its Norwegian founders for $56 million in 2015. Lock, stock and smoking barrel for $56 million; a “portion” for $241-million more.

As you may recall, the plan that Jay-Z had when establishing Tidal was to get a group of musicians—including Madonna, Kanye, Daft Punk, Jack White, Beyoncé—and give them a piece of the action (~3%) in order for them to create Tidal-specific music. That way there would be a solid reason for fans to go to that outlet rather than other venues.

In terms of the subscriber base, however, Spotify is doing exceedingly well and Tidal, music catalog notwithstanding, is not sweeping away the competition for dollars and ears. Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music account for about 70% of the market, leaving the rest to others—and the rest isn’t just Tidal.

Dorsey, the man behind Twitter, is also the co-founder of Square, the financial services company that offers clever point-of-services devices (portable, pedestal-based) through which people buy things, as well as the backend software to make the transactions complete. Swipe. Tap. Voila!

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Just Try Not to Listen

The level of commerce that is associated with rock and roll is something that is best not thought about. It’s sort of like the old line that you never want to go into the kitchen of a restaurant—regardless of whether it has three Michelin stars or it is a McDonald’s—because you’re likely not to have much of an appetite as a result of what you’ll discover.

So it is best that we enjoy the filet—or the Filet o’ Fish—without much consideration beyond the object itself.

It is best that we enjoy the work of our performers without knowing what it is that has gotten them in front of us, assuming, of course, that the performers in question are those who have visibility that is perceptible beyond a small group of like minds.

But sometimes it is bracing to see how things are.

Case in point: the boiler plate description of Clear Channel Radio. This is how that company describes itself:

“With 237 million monthly listeners in the U.S., Clear Channel Radio has the largest reach of any radio or television outlet in America. The company’s radio stations and content can be heard on AM/FM stations, HD digital radio channels, Sirius/XM satellite, on the Internet at iHeartRadio.com, and on the iHeartRadio mobile application on iPads, and smartphones, and used via navigation systems from TomTom, Garmin and others. The company’s operations include radio broadcasting, online and mobile services and products, syndication, event and promotion creation and operation, music research services and national television, radio and digital media representation. Clear Channel Radio is a division of CC Media Holdings, Inc. (OTCBB:CCMO), a leading global media and entertainment company. More information on the company can be found at www.ccmediaholdings.com.”

Sort of sounds like that Skynet from the Terminator movies. Or, to take another science fictional analogy, the Borg. Resistance is futile.

This past weekend Clear Channel launched iHeartRadio, its competitor to Pandora. And it just didn’t hold a press conference followed by a cocktail party.

Rather, it held a two-day event at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. It calls it the “inaugural iHeartRadio Music Festival.” A music festival in a stadium in a casino seems a bit odd, but there it was.

The event started with the Black Eyed Peas. It closed with Lady Gaga. And in between there were performers ranging from Jay-Z to Sting, from Kelly Clarkson to Jeff Beck, from Jane’s Addiction to Kenny Chesney. It was hosted by Ryan Seacrest.

That’s entertainment circa 2011. Sure, it’s long been this way. Just not so widely and well packaged.

My advice: Stay out of the kitchen.

The Beatles sold a lot of albums last week

The BeatlesThe Beatles‘ catalog sold 626,000 units in the U.S. last week, according to Billboard. Five of the top ten best selling albums of the week are Beatles albums. Of course, you won’t find them on the Billboard 200, because that chart anachronistically excludes albums that were released over 18 months ago, and remastered reissues don’t count. So yeah, the Beatles got Michael Jacksoned.

But here are the Top Comprehensive Albums, which includes both catalog and current releases:

1. Jay-Z – “The Blueprint 3” – 476,000

2. Miley Cyrus – “The Time Of Our Lives” – 120,000

3. The Beatles – “Abbey Road” – 89,000

4. Whitney Houston – “I Look To You,” – 88,000

5. The Beatles – “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” – 74,000

6. Raekwon – “Only Built 4 Cuban Linx Pt. 2” – 68,000

7. The Beatles – “The White Album” – 60,000

8. The Beatles – “Rubber Soul” – 58,000

9. Brooks and Dunn – “#1s … And Then Some” – 55,000

10. The Beatles – “Revolver” – 46,000

Keep reading to find out how all 16 new Beatles releases sold last week, and to see the top ten of the Billboard 200.

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Beastie Boys Adam Yauch Cancer Update

Fight for Your Right to HealthcareReceived an email update this morning from Adam Yauch a.k.a. Beastie Boy MCA. He says he’s “rapidly recovering” from his surgery to remove a cancerous tumor in his parotid gland. He’s not taking any of the pain medication in an effort to speed the healing process.

In a few weeks, he’ll next start radiation treatments, a few minutes a day, 5 days a week, for about 7 weeks. Get well soon, Yauch!

Read the full statement and see Jay-Z’s “No Sleep till Brooklyn” tribute after the jump…

Beastie Boys: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, wiki, web.

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His house is all white!

Video: Young Jeezy and Jay-Z – “My President is Black” (remix, live on January 18, 2009)

My President is Black, in fact he’s half white
So even in a racist mind he’s half right
Even in these racist times we alright
My President is Black but his house is all white

Rosa Parks sat so Martin Luther can walk
Martin Luther walked so Barack Obama can run
Barack Obama ran so all the children can fly
So I’m a spread my wings you can meet me in the sky

The Grey Album: The Return of Sampling, The End of New Music, and The Fall of Western Civilization

The Grey AlbumIt’s the most significant rap album since Paul’s Boutique, arguably the only one since the Beastie’s groundbreaking acid trip that can really lay claim to a significant political stance in the upcoming epic battle over corporate copyright laws. While the Beasties may not have set out to craft the ultimate “fuck you” to Disney and the late Sonny Bono, revisionist history says they came damn close. DJ Danger Mouse, however, just put his foot so far up the RIAA’s asshole, Nutty McShithead will be tasting his boot-soles for years.

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Summer Nights and My Radio

Alexander Calder's SunYour particular 3-point cred stance is powerless against the successful summer single. You might be a card-carrying avantist who listens exclusively to backwards-sounding Bruce Gilbert solo albums. Maybe the leftist worldbeat pop of NPR’s online shop is your bag. Doesn’t matter. Most every summer, there’ll be a song that transcends genre and demographics, spilling sticky icky icky sunscreen all over your precious pop culture cone of silence. At first it’ll be clicks and buzzes, wafting into your ride from the open windows of the driver education sedan stuck next to you in the traffic jam. But soon, it’ll start to take shape. Spins at wedding receptions, wafting through the mall where you buy your organic shampoo, slicing through the background din at that baseball game your brother-in-law made you attend. And before you know it, your badass hipster brain’ll be wondering: Just who did let the dogs out?

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