Earlier this week, some of the world’s most famous music artists – including Jay Z, Beyoncé, Madonna, Rihanna and Kanye West – gathered to launch TIDAL, an artist-majority owned music streaming service to rival the likes of Spotify and Pandora.
It’s an effort to give artists more control over their music, as well as (let’s be honest) to make more money, with TIDAL expected to pay double the royalties offered by other music streaming services.
TIDAL will offer music fans high-fidelity audio and video – including exclusive content – but there isn’t a free version. Users will have to pay a monthly fee of $10 for a compressed format or $20 for CD-quality streams.
Now then, I understand why Jay Z and co wanted to introduce TIDAL. It’s true that artists don’t get fair returns when it comes to streaming (Aloe Blacc revealed in this Wired article that it takes roughly one million song plays on Pandora for the songwriter to earn just $90 – he earned Pandora royalties of only $4,000 for his huge hit ‘Wake Me Up’).
However, when I watched the video about the TIDAL launch, I found myself getting annoyed and hating it in an instant. Why? Because of the way it was launched. The video showed the artists sat around a conference table, looking incredibly serious and important, and it appeared as if they were coming together to cure world hunger, to fight social injustice, to save the entire world.
“Every movement throughout history began with a few individuals banding together with a vision, a vision to change the status quo” – led the declaration signed by all the artists. “Together we are unstoppable” TIDAL tweeted dramatically alongside its hashtag #TIDALforALL: I took to Twitter to see if my response was being felt by others too and there was (and still is) a lot of backlash. Check out these tweets:
TIDAL appears to be a fair concept but the launch felt inappropriate and tasteless. Hopefully going forward, the brand will tone down the ‘greater-than-good’ messages and focus on what’s in it for the consumer.