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Jay-Z slams Apple, Google, in rap defending Tidal

Theo Wargo | Getty Images | Live Natio

Jay-Z has slammed Apple, Google and Spotify – rivals to his Tidal music-streaming service – in the way he knows best: a rap.

The U.S. artist ripped into the tech giants at a gig on Saturday called "B Sides," a performance of his rarest tracks that was supposed to be exclusively streamed on Tidal.

Tidal has come under criticism for its $20-a-month price tag – double the $9.99 its rivals charge - with many seeing the platform as just a way for wealthy musicians to get richer.

In answer to his critics, the rapper highlighted that people bought sneakers and iPhones which made both Nike Chairman, Phil Knight, and the late Apple CEO, Steve Jobs, rich. He also highlighted Spotify's near $9 billion valuation:

"You bought nine iPhones and Steve Jobs is rich
Phil Knight is worth millions, you still bought them kicks
Spotify is nine million, they ain't say s**t."

The rapper also took on Jimmy Iovine, the head of the Apple-owned Beats Music, and hit out at YouTube for paying artists "a tenth of what you supposed to get":

"Jimmy Iovine offered a safety net
Google dangle 'round a crazy cheque
I feel like YouTube is the biggest culprit."

Ironic twist

However, in an ironic twist, a video of the performance was pirated and ended up on Google's YouTube, underlining one of the challenges Tidal could face in its efforts to offer exclusive content.

When Tidal launched in March, global superstars such as Beyoncé and Madonna backed the platform, leading to claims that it was just a club for already-rich artists.

Jay-Z said he started Tidal so artists would be better paid - something Spotify and YouTube have been criticized for not doing.

Tidal faces a number of challenges, however, including trying to capture users quickly, compete on price, and prevent content being pirated.

But Jay-Z – or Hov as he is also referred to – ended this weekend's freestyle with a defiant tone against his detractors:

"I know they tryin' to bamboozle you
Spending millions on media tryin' to confuse you
I had to talk to myself 'Hov, you used to it'
It's politics as usual."