Jay Z once rapped "Political refugee, asylum can be purchased. Uh, everything's for sale...," and these past couple of weeks (including today) he has made some good sales. It started last week with the announcement that LVMH had bought 50% of Jay Z's Ace of Spades champagne brand, according to some sources, that netted Hov' approximately $315 million.
Today, Jack Dorsey (also co-founder and CEO of Twitter) announced that Square (another company he co-founded and is CEO of) will be buying a majority stake in another Jay Z company - the music streaming platform TIDAL. Rumors are that this majority stake cost $297 million, not bad considering Jay Z bought Aspiro for $56 million in 2015 before rebranding it to TIDAL.
It's just interesting that Jay Z is on a selling spree, perhaps old age setting in. However, the TIDAL deal comes at a time when music artists need different monetization options as their live performance incomes have been destroyed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The announcement also comes fast on the back of Spotify expanding to over 80 more countries all at once and SoundCloud announcing fan-powered royalties. Jay Z says TIDAL is more than just music streaming and that artists deserve better tools.
For African music artists, already TIDAL pays the best rates per music track streamed compared to the other top music streaming platforms. What needs to happen is that it needs to roll-out to more countries across the continent.
We wait to see what Jay Z and Jack Dorsey's latest partnership in TIDAL brings for music artists. If anything, such initiatives are long overdue.
Today's Top Stories
🐱💻 One thing you learn very quickly about the internet, darknet or open web, is that you should expect anything and shouldn’t be shocked by what you come across. Researchers have now discovered that there are marketplaces on the darknet (scary and fancy word for .onion sites that you can access using TOR browser) that sell what they call “COVID-19 vaccines” for anything between $250 and $1,200 per dose. They advertise availability of the three major vaccines - Pfizer/BioNTech, AstraZeneca, and Moderna, as well as unnamed and unverified "COVID19" vaccines. Needless to say, you really don’t know what you’re buying when buying these “vaccines.” Link
🎼 In other “sales” news, Jay Z has sold a majority stake in TIDAL to Jack Dorsey’s Square. In return, apart from the $297 million for the majority stake, Shawn Carter will join the Square Board of Directors. Not a bad transaction considering he bought the company in 2015 for $56 million. More importantly, the plan sounds like it is to turn TIDAL into more than a music streaming platform. As Jay Z said when announcing the majority stake sale, music artists deserve better digital tools. It’s amazing how much digital transformation is being accelerated by the pandemic. Link
👩🏿🔬 Given that it is World Engineering Day, we would like to bring your attention to the plight of engineers in Kenya. As Jacob Mugendi writes, “As of 3 March 2022, there were 17,731 registered graduate engineers in Kenya, but only 2,129 professional engineers. Some engineers have not applied or registered as graduate engineers, hence this number is even higher. This shows that graduate engineers face a bottleneck when transitioning to professional engineers, hence this artificial shortage of engineers.” As with most things across our beloved continent, the leaders are failing us. Link
👩🏿💻 The digital technology (tech) industry, across the world and not just in Africa, is still very much dominated by men. Women not only find it difficult to crack the tech industry but it is also difficult for those already working in the industry to make it to decision-making positions. Here is a Q&A with Faith Ramusetheli, Transformation Director, Sage Africa & Middle East, as she shares how she as a woman in the tech industry balances work and life, what a typical day at her job looks like, her advice to other women in tech, and much more. Link
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