Streaming occupies a larger share of music revenue than ever before, forcing both artist and fans to adjust to the new reality and consider which services to patronize. L.A. rapper Nipsey Hussle recently expressed his preference for Tidal, and provided some numbers to back it up.
Despite being in the game for years, Nipsey has remained innovative when it comes to the business side of the music industry. In December 2014, he pressed just 100 physical copies of his Mailbox Money album, selling them for $1000 each. He did the same thing in 2013 with his mixtape Crenshaw, selling 1,000 copies for $100 each, attracting the attention of Jay-Z, who bought 100 copies himself.
There is some canny self-promition at play here with the tweet, as Hussle recently partnered with Tidal on a documentary called 10 Rings and is gearing up to release his album, Victory Lap, in February. But Tidal's status as the best paying major streaming service has been noted elsewhere: take a look at this graphic which compares payouts from the major streaming companies (if you really want to support artists you could even sign up for Napster). And with Spotify facing a $1.6 billion lawsuit for not properly licensing material or compensating artists, the ethics of streaming are under a microscope.
In a November 2017 interview with Complex, Nipsey talked about his recent partnership with Atlantic Records, cryptocurrency, and the importance of spreading content organically by focusing on his core fans.
I just think that's how life works; I don't think you get anything to a million people at a time. I think that's unrealistic. I don't think a human being observed that. I think that business introduced that ideology. I think human things happen intimate.
So the goal would be, as a content creator, to create a piece of content that affects one person so much that they gotta go share it, and they become your marketing. They become the legs for what you're doing. Because if you focus and zero in, you can inspire a person to a degree that they work for the movement.
Nipsey was also recently criticized for a homophobic comment in an Instagram post about the perception of black men, and was challenged to a charity boxing match by a Bay Area reporter he'd previously criticized. The rapper is certainly keeping his name in the headlines in advance of Victory Lap.
Check out the streaming stats courtesy of Nipsey above, and make sure to watch Pigeons & Planes' Numbers on the Board series exploring the streaming success of rising artists, the latest of which focused on singer-rapper-producer Yaeji.