“I’ve landed on a solution”: Is James Blake launching a streaming app?

Blake recently aired concerns about TikTok’s impact on the music industry and the financial struggles artists face due to inadequate royalty payouts.

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James Blake attends the Bottega Veneta fashion show during the Milan Fashion Week Womenswear Fall/Winter 2024-2025 on February 24, 2024 in Milan, Italy.

Credit: Zunino Celotto/Getty Images

What is James Blake cooking? The musician, following recent complaints about inadequate payments for artists by social media and streaming platforms, has told fans that he’s “landed on a nice solution”.

Writing on X on Monday (11 March), the British producer and singer said, “Been having some great conversations with like minds and I think I’ve landed on a nice solution. Announcement in 9 days.”

Blake’s mysterious “solution” looks to be related to his recent public highlighting of unfair payments for artists from major music streaming and social media platforms, particularly TikTok.

Many of James Blake’s fans have speculated that the announcement, which according to Blake will come on 20 March, is a music streaming app. Some say, considering Blake’s past collaborations with the artist, this streaming app could be a collaboration with Kanye West on his much-rumoured ‘Yzy’ or ‘Yeezy’ app.

Rumours of a new Kanye West-led music streaming service/music store were re-invigorated recently when West, now going by Ye, responded to a fan about the rumours. After the fan wrote, “So Vultures 2 won’t be released on Apple Music, Spotify or Tidal? Will it only be available on Yeezy.com?”, West responded with, “Can we get a million people to buy the album. When we do that we won’t have the streaming companies in control of the artist anymore.”

One X user makes a bold prediction: “He’s buying Myspace, you read it here first”. Another user, clearly excited at an alternative to streaming, simply writes, “Are we going to start a socialist revolution?”.

All this comes after the Playing Robots Into Heaven creator revealed on 3 March that neither he nor Frank Ocean had received any payment for the use of Blake’s popular cover of Frank Ocean’s Godspeed after it was labelled as ‘original audio’ on TikTok.

This sparked a string of X posts from the artist. He writes, “Something I keep seeing is ‘if you’re lucky enough to go viral, just use the exposure to generate income some other way’. Musicians should be able to generate income via their music.

“Do you want good music or do you want what you paid for?”

A later post continues: “If we want quality music somebody is gonna have to pay for it. Streaming services don’t pay properly, labels want a bigger cut than ever and just sit and wait for you to go viral, TikTok doesn’t pay properly, and touring is getting prohibitively expensive for most artists.

“The brainwashing worked and now people think music is free,” another post reads.

“And by the way, since it’s cheaper to produce fast, synthetic music to drop on streaming every week to capitalize on the strengths of the model, watch how the model is preparing you for AI-generated music that pays musicians nothing at all.”

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