Happy Tuesday, folks! I know I've filled your feeds with tons of #WhoRunTheWorld content all month long, and I thank you for rocking with me. But now, it's time to get back to our regular scheduled programming.
Yesterday, JAY Z, along with about 15 of the world's most recognizable names in music, announced the launch of a new music streaming service called "TIDAL."
Initially, when HOV announced last December that he had purchased the Hi-Fi music service from Norway's Aspiro, I thought it would be yet another Shawn Cater boss move - which it is. This was also at the time that pop princess Taylor Swift stripped her latest album "1989" from Spotify.
Now, this post is in no way shape or form to diss JAY Z, or those artists who have signed on to the TIDAL wave. (Hehe.) I've always had respect for Mr. Carter's business acumen, his creativity and his thoughtfulness toward bringing his art closer to his consumer.
However, as a consumer of music for most of my life, I'm just very interested as to how this "new experience" will benefit the consumer more than the artist. A number of questions ran through my mind as I was watching this press conference yesterday: How much did each artist have to front? Will they get more money by bringing their music to TIDAL instead of keeping it on Spotify? What happens (if and when) the company goes public? If it ain't about the money, then why is a subscription so darn expensive?
As lengthily explained by multi-Grammy award winner Alicia Keys, TIDAL is an artist-owned venture that looks to bring content exclusively to its consumers. Similar to the very popular music streaming service Spotify, TIDAL's platform will "preserve the value of music for fans, artists and the industry as a whole." It is ultimately looking to put the power of sharing music back into the artists' hands, making them feel more powerful in sharing their hard work, blood, sweat and tears.
"I'm happy for you all, and I'm going to let you finish, but Spotify has best FREE music streaming service of ALL TIME!"
For starters, TIDAL is looking to charge music fans at the most $20/month for their service. While there is an option that is $9.99/month, how much different from this is Spotify? Or Pandora? According to an article from Tech Crunch, Spotify recently reported that it has 15 million PAID users, with 60 million subscribers worldwide. How will TIDAL look to capture the attention of those listeners? (Oh right, with Beyonce.)
Additionally, the music that consumers will be receiving is supposed to be of the highest digital quality. Am I going to need certain headphones to hear every spine-tingling whisp of the high-hat, or heart-thumping rattle of the 808?
Because Twitter was all the range yesterday during the #TIDALforALL announcement, here are some of my favorite tweets from fellow music enthusiasts who are too scratching their heads about this new movement:
Something about Tidal really doesn't rub me the right way. Premium entry price? High powered stars "coming together for all"?? All of what??
— R.O.N.A. (@CallMeCharizma) March 30, 2015
Spotify and YouTube works just fine for me. I won't be drinking the Kool-Aid. All the best to Jay Z and the parties involved. #TIDALforALL
— ᴅᴏʟʟᴀʀ (@callmedollar) March 30, 2015
the funny thing is, everyone on stage really thinks they're supporting some kind of music streaming revolution #TIDALforALL
— Krystie Lee Yandoli (@KrystieLYandoli) March 30, 2015
So basically Tidal is Spotify for the one percent? #TIDALforALL
— Harsh Mall (@harsh_mall) March 30, 2015
Now, time for a final thought.
I respect the direction in which Mr. Carter and his peers are trying to take music distribution, but what needs to be understood is that consumers that have supported their favorite artists for YEARS don't see the value-add in paying MORE money for a "music experience" that already exists. Furthermore, I'm already purchasing your music on iTunes, watching your YouTube and VEVO videos, liking your photos on Instagram AND breaking my neck to get tickets to your next concert. If EYE am going to pay $20/month for your music to stream in my house, it better damn well sound like I'm right there in the studio with you.
Another note: if Mr. Carter and his peers want to take this #TIDALforALL movement a step further, make it a SOCIAL experience. Show support for upcoming artists looking to learn how to adequately launch their careers in such a lucrative industry. Truly provide a service that fans will not only want to pay for offers to spend more money or simply 'behind the scenes' footage of you honing in on YOUR craft, but a way to create a wave of new artistry and industry thinking will empower the next generation of Kanyes, Beyonces and Rihannas to think differently.
That's just my two cents, but hey, what do I know? I'm just a music lover.