On May 16, hip hop mogul Jay Z accused competitors of his fledgling music streaming service Tidal of racism, but after an image was posted online showing Jay Z may be the company’s only black employee, fans aren’t buying it.
According to the Daily Mail, the rapper’s wife, Beyoncé Knowles, shared an image of the couple visiting with Tidal’s staff this week on her personal website. The problem: Jay Z and Beyoncé were the only black people in a group photo of around 50 employees.
— Saeed Jones (@theferocity) May 26, 2015
While the company is headquartered in Norway, a country that is 97 percent Caucasian, Tidal’s lack of diversity is striking, considering Jay Z’s remarks regarding the sinking company’s business opponents two weeks ago.
Jay Z unloaded on Apple, Pandora, Spotify, Google, and YouTube during a concert held exclusively for Tidal subscribers at Terminal 5 in New York City.
He accused the competition of treating him as a slave, before linking Tidal’s poor performance with the deaths of Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, and Freddie Gray:
Well I can’t tell how they killed Freddie Gray, right, shot down Mike Brown how they did Tray, right?
Let ‘em continue choking n—as, we gonna turn style, I ain’t your token n—a.
“You bought nine iPhones and Steve Jobs is rich, Phil Knight is worth trillions, you still bought them kicks, Spotify is nine billion, they ain’t say s–t.
…the only one they hating on looks just like you.
*** Language Warning***
Users on Twitter pointed out the duality of the rhymes after seeing images of Tidal’s staff:
Jay hit us with the black power freestyle because he knew the pics of Tidal's staff were gonna be out shortly after…
— Scatterbrained1 (@_Clyphd) May 27, 2015
Lmao nah when I saw someone bring up Tidal's staff being all white, I knew y'all were officially doomed.
— Queen. (@MadamChinenye) May 27, 2015
Jay-Z has always been a hypocrite. Can't put my money into tidal
— Less Accessible 🇳 🇺🇸 (@Champion_89) May 27, 2015
Jay-Z bought the company earlier this year from the Swedish company Asprio for $56 million.
Tidal announced in March it would offer no free music option; instead users would have to pay $10 per month for digital-quality audio, or $20 per month for higher-definition CD-quality audio.
The app for the service fell out of the top 700 for U.S. iPhone users within a few weeks, and Tidal has since become a heavy target for jokes and criticism on social media.
While Tidal has been struggling since its debut, the service’s failure to compete may have only just begun.
According to Yahoo News, Tidal is in danger of losing one of its marquee artist’s if it can’t cough up the cash to pay Sony the requested royalties to continue streaming Beyoncé’s music.
Beyoncé is of course one of the service’s flagship artists… and Jay Z’s wife.