The year was 2009, and Spotify wasn’t close to the streaming juggernaut it has become since it only launched about a year prior. Jay Z had a new album to promote, The Blueprint III, so the Brooklyn rapper teamed with Rhapsody for a marketing boost.
At the time, Rhapsody—an offshoot of RealNetworks (clap for yourself if you remember that name)—is a paid subscription music service, competing with the like of iTunes and Pandora. Lately, it’s been focusing on apps, and is allegedly on the upswing.
But anyway, back in ’09, Rhapsody and MTV actually streamed Jay Z’s The Blueprint III album almost two weeks before its release to help counter the inevitable bootleg/leak. Rhapsody also sold the album a few days before its proper release. But the most memorable aspect of the partnership was a commercial for Rhapsody that recreated of the memorable covers of Jay Z’s classic albums.
All this is to say, Hova has been hip to the nuances of this streaming thing for a long minute. However, considering the backlash, the roll out of his TIDAL endeavor will certainly be second guessed for a long time. Will TIDAL flourish like Spotify, or peter out like (at least in the eyes of sheepish consumers) Rhapsody?
Ironically, or not, the old Rhapsody spot isn’t available on YouTube anymore due to a copyright claim. However, it is still on Vimeo, for now.