Timbaland & Swizz Beatz VERZUZ vs SOLD Verzuz #BlackOWNED

10 months ago

A clapping and dancing audience has also been added, with masks but no safe distancing, swiftly moving us away from the necessity to stay home and stay safe away from a virus.

Why Black people can never keep their own successful Brand? Why can’t we have our own sh*t? Why Jay-Z sold Tidal? Whyyyyyyyyyyyy …
Black people do keep their own successful brands, but it is then rebranded as “Black Owned”. The expression that is too divisive, too niche and make you more tired than the ice cream machine at Mc Donald which never works but you still diligently queue for, every other day.

Tidal, a subscription-based music, podcast, and video streaming service, ranked in 2019 at 10 out of the 10th streaming services, after Google Play music and Deezer. The high-fidelity music streaming service with exclusive content was launched in 57 Countries by Norwegian music company Aspiro and was then owned by Jay-Z’s company Project Panther Bidco ltd. Tidal was perceived as “by the Industry and for the Industry” from a mass-marketing campaign promoting it as the first artist-owned streaming service, missing its mark to compete against number one Spotify and number two Pandora. Jay-Z has spoken in March 2021 about selling his majority stake in the Tidal streaming service to Square, a mobile payments firm run by Twitter co-founder (although pictures of the Carters on a yacht with Jack Dorsey surfaced from the 26 of August 2020). So, now suddenly Black people cannot own sh*t. Black customers did not rush to own a subscription from Tidal, so it might be why certain business moves are required to keep up with the future technologies and copyright methods available soon to the music business.

One of the current talks of the futuristic towns is NFT: non-fungible token. A non-fungible token is a unit of data on a digital ledger called a blockchain, where each NFT can represent a unique digital item, and thus they are not interchangeable. NFTs can represent digital files such as Art, Audio, Videos, items in video games and other forms of creative work. Azealia Banks sold an audio sex tape of herself and, in her own term, “JEWcy” partner (raising the value of the Hebrew community in the eyes of the culture?). The non-fungible token was created by her JEWcy partner and posted on the Ethereum blockchain for 10.00 ETH, 1ETH was worth then $1,827.08. The terms and conditions of this audio sex-tape: << This sale is for the full rights and sole access to the “first” audio sex-tape to be minted on the blockchain. Recorded in February 2021 by Azaelia Banks and boyfriend, this sound-based artwork is sure to titillate for its full 24:22 duration. Upon purchase, a WAV file will be delivered to the buyer in addition to a 1 of 1 signed LP vinyl record. Full ownership. including limitless distribution and display rights are included in this sale. Do not miss out on this historic & sexy event >>. 

NFTs are a type of cryptocurrency with T&C contracts locked into the unique digital item. Cryptocurrency is a digital currency that can be used to buy goods and services but uses an online ledger with strong cryptography (the process of converting ordinary plain text into unintelligible text – encryption) to secure online transactions. Bitcoins cannot be withdrawn into a bank account directly. Many methods are available to convert your crypto coins into cash, which by the look of it include additional dream fees from being rich in crypto-wallet to broke in reality-wallet (personal opinion alert!). NFT would allow independent labels and artists to easily manage their DSP and contracts attached to their original audio. Digital Service Providers like online store iTunes, Amazon Music or streaming service Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, YouTube Music would feature pre-managed digital albums and singles. Nerds are now expected to release the technologies on Social Media platforms that will allow an Artificially Intelligent trademark enforcer to automatically manage the enforcement of copyright claims. It is not about submitting a copyright claim manually but more about tracing authorisation and payments for each content protected by an NFT. Specifying the terms of use of your property (audio, video, images) should be one click away to lock the available uses by end-users. No more freebies and video popping up on random accounts without clearance from THE NFT AI digital officers. Sounds like a positive direction, technically not financially.

When Timbaland and Swizz decided to launch “Verzuz online” in March 2020 to webcast virtual DJ battle showcasing two musicians, predominantly R&B and hip hop, with highlight to their discographies in two 10-song rounds during a three-hour session, we were in the middle of uncertainty and our first lockdown because of a newly promoted COVID-19 pandemic. Streets were empty. Roads were clear with few cars. Shops were at war against hand contact or germs. The fear of getting sick led to a weekly show where famous Artists with timeless catalogues sang their ish. The footages of these verzuz show you a professional setting with “homemade” like camera games.

The brand, Verzuz, has been sold to Triller Network, which owns the video social-media App and Tik Tok competitor. Instagram LIVE are no longer the exclusive broadcaster of the weekly battles. The 43 artists who have performed on Verzuz so far are now shareholders of Triller, as part of the deal. Timbaland and Swizz Beatz stated that they “will be able to continue to grow and evolve the music business as a whole”. When Isley Brothers vs Earth, Wind & Fire performed this past weekend, plenty of viewers took to their Social Media to complain about the App Triller and the sound quality, which never happened with Instagram LIVE. Now, the Mainstream Media sauce has been added to “our” Verzuz online. It has a TV show vibe to it, with state-of-the-art moving cameras above the singers, Isley Brothers vs Earth, Wind & Fire as first battle under new management. A clapping and dancing audience has also been added, with masks but no safe distancing, swiftly moving us away from the necessity to stay home and stay safe away from a virus. Only Jamaican dancehall artists, Beenie Man and Bounty Killer did not get the memo, during tight rules and international lockdowns in May 2020, the only unruly duo. 

 Would all these improvements (cameras, audience) have made a difference under Tim and Swizz’s management? No. It would have only raised their selling price. The Black Owned sauce happens to still have this “proximity curse” attached to our own: until we lose it to another community, we do not know how good we had it. Verzuz Online has now safely joined the Mainstream channels and are granted the “hated relative” comments and constant criticisms, while the audience watch religiously and happily the new directions taken. The public did show up by the number in the past, they just never branded Verzuz as “the culture” as loud as they do now to remind the new owner how to treat Black talents. Discussions were more geared toward who should battle each other next. Discussions are today about who has been chosen to appear on the next Verzuz, the crowd feeling no longer as part of the process as before through their proximity with Tim and Swizz.

R Kelly was omnipresent during this VERZUZ

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BY: Sylvaine FRANCIS 
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