If there’s one thing that music fans everywhere remain as riveted by as ever, it’s the intricacies of artists diversifying their holdings portfolios. So it should come as welcome news to Jay Z fans that the investment-doer and erstwhile rapper has inked a deal with the Barclays Center to secure the sponsored naming rights to the venue’s more intimate theater space. Henceforth and unto eternity, or until the streaming music service folds, it shall be known as the Tidal Theater, which, practically speaking, means we’re all definitely going to go download the app now, just like we were inspired to appreciate and know all about the people it was previously named after when it was the Cushman & Wakefield Theater.
Barclays announced the deal on Monday in a press release, saying that Tidal, “a recognized experiential music and entertainment platform,” would assume naming rights immediately. For the service, which celebrated its 1 millionth subscriber last week, recognized — however hilariously understated a promotional adverb — might even be overselling it. One showgoer and big fan at last week’s Tidal X: 1020 Amplified by HTC concert, featuring Jay Z and fellow Tidal co-owners Beyoncé, Nicki Minaj, and Usher, among others, told a reporter that “I don’t know what the hell” Tidal even is.
He’s not alone. As exciting as that 1 millionth subscriber was as a milestone (it is, after all, a pleasingly round number we all recognize as signifying “large”), it still lags well behind Apple Music’s 6.5 million and Spotify’s 20 million paid users. The Tidal team is hoping, one presumes, that this exclusive naming-rights deal will be the kick in the pants that gets music fans to use the product — in the same way that every Mets fan heading out to the World Series later this week will have transferred his savings to Citibank. (Right?)
The move also serves as a return home to Barclays, a/k/a The House That HOVA Built (one-fifth of 1 percent of), for Jay Z, who previously sold his small stake in the stadium, and the Brooklyn Nets, who play there, as his then-burgeoning Roc Nation sports management company was seen as a conflict of interest.
As for the specs, the venue itself will feature a “new state of the art curtaining system for an intimate theater configuration,” and will seat between 4- and 6,000 for performances, including theater, boxing, comedy, and other events.
Barclays further explains that the new wondrous space-curtain will provide fans “direct floor access to Barclays Center’s Billboard Lounge amplified by Lightpath and the Calvin Klein Courtside Club, as well as offer top sightlines from the 40/40 CLUB & Restaurant by American Express,” a sentence somehow not written by Warren Ellis.
“Tidal’s name is synonymous with exclusive and personalized fan experiences, making it a perfect fit for the theater at Barclays Center,” Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark said. “Our new theater configuration provides Tidal Theater with a special atmosphere that allows us to bring more diverse content and many big nights to Brooklyn.”
Those big nights will include at least eight concerts a year curated by Tidal’s proprietary branded music trough and content-gorging feedbag hootenanny. Every single one of them is going to be the best night of your life.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 26, 2015