Why Was Jay Z a Guest on Frank Ocean's Apple Music Program?

Yes, that Jay Z. "Majority owner of TIDAL" Jay Z.
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Yes, that Jay Z. "Majority owner of TIDAL" Jay Z.

On Friday (February 24), Frank Ocean hosted a special two-hour #blondedRADIO program on Apple Music station Beats 1.

During the first hour of the show, Ocean played a smooth mix of new material (Kodak Black's "Tunnel Vision," Future's "I'm So Groovy," Migos' "Get Right Witcha"), classics (Celine Dion's "All By Myself," Prince's "When You Were Mine") and his own work ("Nights," "Slide" with Calvin Harris and Migos), while the second hour featured more music and a conversation with Jay Z.

Yes, that Jay Z.

Together, the pair discussed the current state of the music industry, the difference between hip-hop clubs back in the day versus now, and the overall listening habits of today's generation. 

"I think with all the technology today, [streaming services] are a more efficient way to get music out," Jay explained to Ocean.

While it's far from surprising to hear Jay provide commentary on the efficiency and purpose of streaming services in 2017—after all, he is the majority owner of a platform now valued at $600 million—the fact that he delivered these remarks on Apple Music, one of TIDAL's two chief competitors, is head scratching.

In the past, Jay has gone out of his way to give TIDAL any competitive advantage possible, which includes removing a portion of his catalog from Apple Music, iTunes, Spotify and even Amazon, so appearing on Beats 1 for an interview with an artist who just released his album exclusively with Apple Music is not nothing. 

To be clear, I have no idea what Jay is up to—Was the 33% stake Sprint purchased from TIDAL Jay's equity???—but his history as a calculated business, man, suggests that there's more here than meets the ear.


By Z, who loves to argue with you on Twitter.

Photo Credit: Instagram