Frank Ocean surprised fans with a new Apple Music Beats 1 Radio show called Blonded on Friday (February 24). But the show itself wasn’t the biggest headline. On the program, Jay Z addressed how pop radio has affected the way consumers are exposed to new talent as well as how it puts a restraint on artist creativity all in the name of advertising money.
As a superstar mogul, Jay Z has made an attempt to make it easier for artists to get their music out to the masses and get adequately paid for it with the acquisition of TIDAL, competing with streaming services such as Soundcloud, Spotify and ironically, Apple Music. While TIDAL as a company may have their own issues, Jay’s original objective is still admirable.
“You take these pop stations, they’re reaching 18-34 young white females,” the 47-year-old rap vet indicates. “So they’re playing music based on those tastes. And then they’re taking those numbers and they’re going to advertising agencies and people are paying numbers based on the audience that they have. So these places are not even based on music. Their playlist isn’t based on music.”
He further goes into the politics of artists trying to make it onto radio, something that most aspiring musicians dream of becoming a reality one day. He believes that as technology progresses, the relationship between musician and radio has mostly regressed since radio has become a slave to ad dollars and not music. Jigga goes on to praise Frank for being one of the artists who has maintained the integrity of his art and explains why maintaining that integrity is important.
“The more times a person like yourself can bypass that, it’s better for the arts,” he tells the singer. “And it’s better for the audience because you have to have a level of discipline or just a belief to put music out in this place where not everyone can. People, they want to shoot [to be on radio] and they’re making music that’s not really conditioned to who they are so that they can reach a certain platform.”
Jay’s sentiments come on the heels of Frank Ocean’s open letter criticizing Grammy producers Ken Ehrlich and writer David Wild, as well as the The Recording Academy as a whole, for being out of touch with today’s musical climate.
“Believe the people,” he penned in the searing letter. “Believe the ones who’d rather watch select performances from your program on YouTube the day after because your show puts them to sleep. Use the old gramophone to actually listen, bro. I’m one of the best alive. And if you’re up for a discussion about the cultural bias and general nerve damage the show you produce suffers from, then I’m all for it.”