Last night, anyone with ears became infatuated by Frank Ocean's collaboration with Calvin Harris and Migos, "Slide," which was released via Apple Music (similar to his acclaimed pair of releases, Endless and Blonde, in 2016). Out of nowhere, the singer-songwriter then hopped onto Apple's Beats 1 to debut a new radio show, blonded RADIO. As of right now there's no word on the frequency of blonded on Beats 1, but he joins a litany of artists (Drake, Run The Jewels, Travis Scott, and others) who have curated radio programs for the service.
Throughout the broadcast listeners got music from everyone from Air to DJ Rashad, along with selections from a trio of special guests (Federico Aliprandi, Roof Access, and Vegyn), but Frank one-upped this treat by getting an exclusive (yet brief) conversation with Jay Z where they discussed modern radio. If you wondered if Jay wouldn't feel the way you do about the state of radio today, don't let his DOB trip you up; he's here for the cause.
"It’s pretty much an advertisement model," Jay begins. "You take these pop stations, they’re reaching 18-34 young white females. 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."
Hov takes it one step further, though: "a person like Bob Marley right now probably wouldn’t play on a pop station. Which is crazy. It’s not even about the DJ discovering what music is best. You know, music is music. The line’s just been separated so much that we’re lost at this point in time."
Jay then starts talking about how we ingest music these days, and you get a strong sense of why he invested in TIDAL (which Sprint recently copped a 33 percent stake in). "They have to revolutionize that thing, you know, be more progressive. I think with all the technology and where we are today, it’s definitely a more efficient way to get music out. Because it's the whole idea behind having a festival that played all sorts of music. Because no one listens to music like that—you just listen to music more than ever. Back in the days there used to be hip-hop clubs. Like, specific hip-hop clubs. Now every club is a hip-hop club. Every club is a music club. You go in there, you’re liable to hear EDM, hip-hop, you're gonna hear some soul, you’re definitely going to hear “Poison” around 2-3 in the morning."
At the end of the day, Jay is looking for more music for music's sake and less advertising. "It’s unfortunate because with, you know, technology and everything moving forward, we should, it should be a better way that the music, the musicians, radio, and these things that are supposed to be instruments for the arts, should exist. And it shouldn’t be about advertisement. And it shouldn’t be about—so the more times, you know, someone like yourself can bypass that, it’s better for the, for the arts. And it’s better for the audience ‘cause you have to have, like, a level of discipline and just a belief to put music out in this place where not everyone can. You know, people, like, they wanna shoot for that, and then they’re making music that’s not really conditioned to who they are, who they are so they can reach a certain platform."
While the conversation between these two is essential to how we consume music today, it's more intriguing to know that Jay is still very much a part of TIDAL, which is in direct competition with Apple Music. That point was not lost on Twitter.
Frank so ballsy he's got Jay Z on Apple Music. #blondedRADIO— Josh Hood (@starkador) February 24, 2017
kinda odd hearing jay z on a beats 1 station— Connor Cleveland (@ConnorCleve) February 24, 2017
i guess tidal is dead? #blondedRADIO
weird that JAY Z (tidal) is on Apple Music giving an interview— DK (@khatinthekar) February 24, 2017
frank ocean getting jay z, mr. tidal himself, on an apple music exclusive radio show is probably the greatest flex of our time for real— certified roadman™ (@bossquiat) February 24, 2017
Speculators will start speculating, but as of right now, there's no indication that Jay is leaving TIDAL; hell, that platform's foundation is on giving artist's the power back. This is a major flex, though, and you can play it back right now via Apple Music. Hopefully there's more blonded RADIO in the cards.