Twitter co-founder/CEO Jack Dorsey and Hip Hop legend Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter’s names have publicly intersected over the last year. In May, Dorsey donated $10 million to the Reform Alliance, the nonprofit that includes Carter as a Founding Partner.
Then Jay-Z namedropped the technology executive on Pharrell Williams’s “Entrepreneur” single that came out in August. Hov rapped on the song, “Lies told to you, through YouTubes and Hulus. Shows with no hues that look like you do. Black Twitter, what’s that? When Jack gets paid, do you?”
Those bars questioned the idea of white-owned social media platforms using Black-generated content without compensating the creators. According to Bloomberg, Dorsey’s Square, Inc financial services company is looking to purchase the Black-owned Tidal streaming service from Jay-Z and other artist-owners like Beyoncé and Rihanna.
Carter purchased Tidal in 2015 for $56 million. Two years later, Sprint bought 33% of the company for a reported $200 million. After its relaunch under Jay-Z’s Project Panther Bidco, Tidal dealt with turnover at high-level positions and significant negative press which Jay claimed to be part of a “smear campaign” against the brand.
In 2015, 71% of top music executives believed the streamer would fail within its first year under Carter’s ownership while only 12% of those polled thought it would be a long-lasting service. Tidal reportedly had around 3 million paying subscribers in 2016. The platform’s official customer numbers are not made public.