New York loves a good comeback, or in the case of Webster Hall’s grand re-opening on Wednesday night, two comebacks. Not only did the legendary venue open its newly renovated doors, but it was also christened by the king of NYC, Jay-Z, and the return of his “B-Sides” concept. It was nothing short of awesome.
We’re all familiar with Jay’s motivation and ambition. He’s always been more than just a business, man. I mean, he’s the richest musician in the world right now. But beyond the commercial success, he’s been instrumental in lifting people up across the culture. From paying Lil Wayne’s taxes, to helping free Meek Mill, to hiring the lawyers in 21 Savage’s custody battle with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Jay-Z is the real world godfather of hip-hop. The B-Sides concept, “revisiting old album cuts, mixtape freestyles, soundtrack loosies, and guest verses,” is visionary in its own right. This is a man who is using his success to be an agent for change, justice, and prolonged creativity.
Another feather in his cap is Tidal. With streaming dominating the industry, it’s important to have artists at the table, advocating for creators. I love Spotify, Apple & Google but none of them have musicians at the helm. I believe this is an important protection for artists in the digital era.
Case in point: when De La Soul’s album was recently being released without their consent, it was Tidal that lead the charge to stand up for the group. They refused to release the music without their permission and the other DSP’s followed suit.
Prince presents another example of Tidal’s artist-centric approach. The Prince estate is releasing a 15-track album with Warner Bros. featuring songs he wrote for other performers. “Originals” will first stream on Tidal (June 7th-20th) before its physical release on June 21st. “In the spirit of sharing Prince’s music with his fans as he wanted,” a press release reads, “the album will be available to stream in Master quality via Tidal’s HiFi subscription tier. Members will be able to hear the recordings just as the Artist intended the tracks to sound.”
These ideals are why we’re proud to partner with Tidal on our web series, CRWN. Their team cares about music and musicians and that focus clearly comes from the top down. Jay-Z, with his sprawling management business, his sports agency, countless investments, and his vision for a just world, is the greatest to ever do it; the most necessary voice in the biz.
It was an honor to see him perform last week. Salute to Bowery Presents/AEG and Barclays for what they’ve done. Webster Hall is back and better than ever.