JAY-Z Billion Episode 07 - The Magna Carta: JAY-Z Buy$ Tidal & Launches Roc Nation Sports

Developed and narrated by K.Qhamata 4 SMAART INCUBATOR, Inc.

Episode Synopsis: JAY-Z shocks the world with the launch of ROC NATION SPORTS and the signing of Robinson Cano, Dez Bryant, and Victor Cruz.  Buys a Swedish streaming company called Tidal, and launches an artist lead revolution in music ownership. 


Episode 7 Commentary & Notes


JAY-Z BIllion-Episode-07-Magna-Carta

It's 2013. A single bitcoin’s reaches a purchase price of $1,000, Twitter decides to go public on the stock exchange, and Netflix has just released its first original show, House of cards, starring Kevin Spacey, to critical acclaim. And Chance the Rapper is on the verge of releasing Acid Rap, a mixtape that will change his career and Hip Hop forever.  2013 is shaping up to be one of the most surprising and competitive years in history. But the beneath all of the surprises and media hype is an announcement that will threaten the balance of power in sports and entertainment. 

Robinson Cano, then a Yankees second baseman and five-time All-Star, announces he’s leaving his longtime agent and manager, Scott Boras, to sign with JAY-Z and the new Roc Nation Sports. 

Welcome to the JAY-Z Billion Podcast, the first and only business chronicle of JAY’s Billionaire journey.

Episode 6 recap:

  1. 2010’s release of Decoded
  2. 2011’s release of Watch the throne
  3. 2012’s opening of Barclays

Roc Nation Sports launched on April 2nd of 2013 but had been under development at Roc Nation since 2012.  The move to launch Roc Nation made JAY-Z the first artist in history to simultaneously own, a record label, management company, production company, advertising firm and sports agency.  In April 2013, Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz would also be signed on Roc Nation. Cruz signed a five-year, $43 million extension with New York that summer.

Other sign-ons were; former Notre Dame college basketball star Skylar Diggins signed with Roc Nation. Diggins, who was selected No. 3 in the WNBA draft by the Tulsa Shock, became the agency's third client, after Cano and Cruz. Diggins was a four-time All-American at Notre Dame; in her second season in Tulsa, the guard averaged 20.1 points per game. Roc Nation scooped up Jets quarterback Geno Smith before the former West Virginia college star had even played a single down in the NFL. Smith signed with Roc Nation in May 2013, a move that generated controversy because Jay-Z was not officially credentialed as an agent.

SAMSUNG $5 Million Deal


As part of a broader deal between Samsung and Roc Nation - estimated at $20m - a total of 1m copies of Jay-Z's new album, Magna Carta Holy Grail, were given away on Thursday at one minute past midnight (US eastern time), a full 72 hours before it officially goes on sale. The Korean mobile company has paid $5m so that the first million owners of Galaxy S III, Galaxy S4, and Galaxy Note II devices to claim the album through a free app from the Google Play store get a three-day head start on the rest of Jay-Z's fans.

With the Samsung deal its the first time in music where an artist would be certified platinum before the release of an album.


In 2014, JAY-Z decided to focus on building the ROC NATION SPORTS division.  Over the next 12 months, JAY-Z would help ROC NATION secure major signings from MLB and NFL. Here are the top four client signings:

  1. Hakeem Nicks of the New York Giants. Joined Roc Nation in Feb. 2014, after becoming a free agent for the first time in his career. He spent five seasons with the New York Giants, where he quickly became an integral part of the team's offense.
  2. James Young of Boston Celtics. Former Kentucky and current Boston Celtics basketball player James Young was spotted sitting next to Rihanna during a Brooklyn Nets game at the Barclays Center in May 2014.
  3. RUSNEY CASTILLO of the Boston Red Sox. The Cuban defector signed with Roc Nation in June 2014, and two months later the Boston Red Sox agreed to a seven-year, $72.5 million deal with the outfielder
  4. Dez Bryant of the Cowboys. Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant joined Roc Nation Sports in Nov. 2014 while in the last season of his rookie contract and being paid $1.78 million in base salary.



Tidal is not a new company or a startup. Tidal was originally founded in 1995 by a team of Swedish entrepreneurs in Sweden. The company was originally named Aspiro but was later renamed Tidal when it entered the U.S. market in 2010 with its streaming platform called WIMP. 

On January 30th JAY-Z officially announced he had purchase Tidal for $56 Million US dollars from Aspiro investors and stakeholders through a holding company called Project Panther Bidco Ltd. Upon completing the purchase, JAY-Z became the first black business mogul in music history to own and control his own distribution network via streaming. The achievement was momentous, but it was not without controversy. 

The initial plan for Tidal was for it to be a home for artists who were being denied fair royalty compensation and profit sharing for their music. To cement this as a reality JAY-Z recouped his initial $56 million by selling small shares of Tidal to elite artists.  The first artists to publically buy-in and support Tidal were; 

Alicia Keys, Win Butler and Regine Chassagne from Arcade Fire, Beyoncé, Calvin Harris (appearing via a video call), Chris Martin from Coldplay (who was also there via a video call and shared a screen with Calvin Harris), Daft Punk, Jack White, Jason Aldean, J. Cole, Jay Z, Kanye West, Deadmau5, Madonna, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, and Usher.

The star-studded lineup drew an immense amount of backlash from the media and some fans, who believed Tidal was just another streaming platform created to make rich people richer.

Khufere Qhamata, is the founder of the SMAART INCUBATOR, a serial entrepreneur, and dedicated futurist. He is chief executive of Leap72, a strategic innovation consultancy advising corporations on how to use startup economics to grow and compete for the future. He is also a co-founder and board member of Academy M, a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit specializes in the mentorship and career development of millennials. You can follow him on Linkedin.