#TechTuesday: #TIDALforALL? Not Quite, And Here's Why.


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:

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. 


2015 Grammy Nominations

Happy Saturday, friends!

Now that I've successfully given my first keynote speech, I'm gearing up for the weekend that music enthusiasts like myself have been waiting for! Tomorrow at 8 PM EST, the 57th Annual GRAMMY Awards will premiere on CBS, and this year's nominations have been quite the topic of discussion. To bring you up to speed for Sunday's festivities, I've recruited my homeboys Terron Moore and Gerald Obah to share their predictions on who will walk away with the big awards of the night!

And here we go!

Record of the Year (Nominees): 'Chandelier' - Sia; 'Fancy' - Iggy Azelea; 'Stay With Me' - Sam Smith; 'All About That Bass' - Megan Trainor; 'Shake It Off' - Taylor Swift

TM: This is so loathingly typical. It’s not that these songs aren’t all deserving, but they’re all so safe—specifically “All About that Bass,” “Fancy” and “Shake if Off.” The bolder, more adventurous tracks left are Sia’s “Chandelier” and Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me,” which should be battling it out for the year’s title. It’s a tough toss-up, but given the Grammy’s love of underdog Lorde last year, I’ve got a feeling that Sam Smith takes this. Still, would have liked to see “Drunk in Love” or even “Happy” in the fight here.

GO: First thought? All About that Bass can go. Sia started our year off with 'Chandelier', and who can say they don’t BELT that chorus everytime it comes on? 'Stay With Me' was a great record about something we don’t hear singers singing about too too much. 'Fancy' dominated the summer without question and is my pick to win this category.  'Shake It Off' is cute & definitely, but if we are talking about the title of the award being the record of the YEAR? Iggy and Charli XCX will be first time Grammy winners here. No record was bigger and the Clueless themed music video only amplified the success.

Song of the Year (Nominees): 'Take Me To Church' - Andrew Hozier; 'Chandelier' - Sia;  'Stay With Me' - Sam Smith; 'All About That Bass' - Megan Trainor; 'Shake It Off' - Taylor Swift

TM: Two key differences between Record and Song. 1) The award is given specifically to the songwriter, and 2) Other than switching out “Fancy” for Hozier’s “Take Me To Church,” the nominees are exactly the same. I still think it comes down to Sam Smith and Sia, two songs that weren’t just sonically resonant, but powerfully written. It’ll be extremely close, but word-for-word, I think Sia wrote the better song. (Yes, as far as the two big ones go, I’m calling shut-outs for Meghan Trainor and Taylor Swift. Cute noms, but I think the passing on Trainor in the Best New Artist category is a bad sign, and there is nothing noteworthy about “Shake It Off” in comparison to Swift’s previous, much better work.)

GO: I must remind you all that this is a songwriter’s award.  In the case of all nominees, all are songwriters on their nominated songs. However, if Sia does not win this award something is wrong with NARAS.  Shake It Off is a great song however the chorus is incredibly basic.  Catchy? Yes – but it’s also basic.  Sia has been writing for all of our faves for years and has not received a Golden Grammophone.  It would be AH-MAY-ZING if her first award was for her own song as it’s incredibly well written while simultaneously having an earworm of a hook.

Album of the Year (Nominees) : Morning Phase — Beck; Beyoncé — Beyoncé; X — Ed Sheeran; In The Lonely Hour — Sam Smith; Girl — Pharrell Williams

TM: I’m so happy that Beyonce is in this category—not because of the way in which it dropped, but because it’s sonically her best album yet and the best-sounding album in recent memory. She has the longest list of producers, writers, engineers, etc. when it comes to her competition, and that roster is proof of the way she stretched her skills to make really innovative, forward-thinking music. For that, it deserves to win. But it won’t, because Sam Smith is in this category. It’s a little bold to predict a Smith sweep, but it’s just too obvious he’s this year’s Grammy darling.

GO: This category is all about one person here: Pharrell Williams.  As anyone who listens to popular music can notice, Pharrell has producing credits on 'BEYONCE' as well as 'X', making him a 3 time nominee along with G I R L.  He really cannot lose here. As far as what album should win, BEYONCE is the only answer here. 4 was wrongfully snubbed out of this category in 2012 so YAAASSSS for redemption. No album was more polarizing or had a bigger impact than BEYONCE, which dropped in the dead of the night this time last year. Spectacle aside, a lot of listeners deem this as her best body of work meaning it should win.  If for some ridiculous reason BEYONCE doesn’t win, GIRL is an excellent body of work with strong singles as well as deep album cuts (See: Lost Queen for my fave.)

Best New Artist (Nominees): Iggy Azalea; Bastille; Brandy Clark; Haim; Sam Smith

TM: I hope Iggy Azalea doesn’t think she has a chance in this category, because she will not be winning it. This will either go to Bastille or Sam Smith. Who is Brandy Clark?

GO: This category is interesting because for starters, Brandy Clark is not new.  She’s been writing for our country faves like Miranda Lambert for some time now. This is just like when Shelby Lynne won over Jill Scott, Sisqo, Brad Paisley & Papa Roach at the 2001 Grammys.  Like she been doing this. Assuming that similar results don’t take place, I think this will go to Sam Smith.  Bastille dominated top 40 radio and Haim is a solid up and comer, but this is Sam Smith’s award.

Best Pop Solo Performance (Nominees): 'All Of Me' (Live) - John Legend; 'Chandelier' - Sia; 'Stay With Me' (Darkchild Version - Sam Smith; 'Shake It Off' - Taylor Swift; 'Happy' (Live) - Pharrell Williams

TM: “Chandelier.” There, that was easy.

GO: I didn’t know that John Legend was a Pop Star?  I get that this was serviced to Top 40 and SMANGED it pero no.  However, John Legend SLAYS live please believe. If Taylor Swift were to win her 8th Grammy award in 2015, this is the category.  Her transformation (years in the making) into a bonafide Pop SUPERSTAR was met with such warm reception and that is thanks to this earworm of a song with a hidden message to shake them haters off! This is pure pop gold.

Best Pop/Duo Group Performance (Nominees): 'Fancy' - Iggy Azalea Featuring Charli XCX; 'A Sky Full Of Stars' -Coldplay; 'Say Something' - A Great Big World With Christina Aguilera; 'Bang Bang' - Jessie J, Ariana Grande & Nicki Minaj; 'Dark Horse' - Katy Perry Featuring Juicy J
TM: If Iggy Azalea has a chance at a Grammy, it’s this one. Even if you don’t love it, “Fancy” was inescapable in 2014, and I think a chunk of Grammy voters will try and show it some love. But going against Coldplay, equally unavoidable “Dark Horse,” the addictive and deserving “Bang Bang” and that excellent ballad “Say Something” by that band no one cares about? Iggy’s edge is extremely slight, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the gramophone was given to anyone else here.
GO: It’s nice to see Christina back in Grammy consideration with A Great Big World after her last win was in 2007 for Ain’t No Other Man, however I don’t think in terms of full year impact this will take the crown.  This leaves a trap song, our song of the summer, and 'Bang Bang.' All three records were great collaborations, however I think that Katy Perry should win her 1st Grammy for Dark Horse featuring Oscar Winner Juicy J.  Katy definitely shines on her records with rappers and it would be a solid look for her 1st win.
Best R&B Song (Nominees):  'Drunk In Love' - Beyoncé Featuring Jay Z; 'Good Kisser'- Usher; 'New Flame' - Chris Brown Featuring Usher & Rick Ross; 'Options' (Wolfjames Version) - Luke James Featuring Rick Ross ; The Worst - Jhené Aiko
TM: I appreciate the Usher nod for the very good “Good Kisser,” but I think he’ll be hurt by the fact that his comeback train quickly ran out of steam. A Chris Brown steal for “New Flame” would be interesting, but this should be “Drunk in Love” in the lead by a mile.
GO: Luke James wasn’t a songwriter on his record so he can’t win. Womp. As much as I think that NARAS will award a song about SURFBOARDTs and “graining on that wood,” this is Usher’s category to lose.  He wrote on 'New Flame' and 'Good Kisser' and I personally think Good Kisser is one of Usher’s best records and this should win the award.  This is the most PURE R&B song in this category, while DIL has pop tendencies.

Best Rap Song (Nominees): 'Anaconda' -Nicki Minaj; 'Bound 2' - Kanye West & Charlie Wilson); 'I' - Kendrick Lamar; 'We Dem Boyz' - Wiz Khalifa; '0 To 100 / The Catch Up'  - Drake
TM: This category is so weird that it’s actually intriguing. Like it or not, “Anaconda” was a grower, slinky and infectious over time and showcasing Nicki Minaj at her coolest. So I think it’s got a shot, but so do Kendrick, Kanye and Drake. I just have a gut feeling that the Academy will repay shutting out Kendrick Lamar last year, and throw him a gramophone this time around.
GO: This is a solid category with 5 solid contenders, however, I think Kendrick should get this for two reasons. 1: He was robbed last year and 2. He gave us something completely out of left field that the public needed.  Positive Messages come few and far between in rap music these days and for that reason alone, 'I' is a Grammy darling.  If for some reason Kendrick doesn’t win this, Drake should take this.