Hello, Internet! So, some of you, particularly those within the music industry, may have heard about this new streaming service, TIDAL. For those that have no idea what this is, TIDAL is a new streaming service from Jay Z with several major players in the industry as "owners", including Beyonce, Rihanna, Kanye West, Deadmau5, Daft Punk, Usher, Madonna, Jack White, Jason Aldean, and more. The service launched on March 30, and thus far the service has been received poorly. But this is the problem. It's being received poorly for misconstrued reasons. Now yes, there are problems with TIDAL. First and foremost being the fact that its celebrity "investors" have not yet gone all-in on the service by pulling their music from all other streaming services to make them TIDAL exclusives. The service has absolutely no chance if this doesn't happen. After all, you'd be much more likely to pay for a service if your favorite artists were hidden behind a pay wall, right? Additionally, the system has had a few bugs, and it looks strikingly similar to Spotify. But really, it's the marketing campaign that has been the real letdown. Thus far the PR campaign has been a disaster, and that's in part due to the malice that many feel towards its owner, Jay Z, going into researching the service. But, additionally, the marketing crew at TIDAL is clearly caught in a limbo of trying to appeal to indie musicians to come and use the service with the promise of better royalties for their favorite artists while trying to appeal to mainstream music listeners who use Spotify free by having their favorite artists be "investors" in the company. As a result of trying to get the best of both worlds, the indie and the mainstream, the service is coming off as the elite of the industry simply wanting more money, and thus failing on both accounts. The mainstream music fan doesn't care how much money the artist is paid, and doesn't care about the quality of their streaming music's sound. They probably didn't even know that Spotify streams its music in a lower quality than it actually needs to, and that everyone can upgrade this sound quality for free. They don't care! This feature doesn't matter to them. They just want to listen to their favorite bands while paying the smallest amount of money possible. And indie listeners? They don't want to support Jay Z. After all, who would? The dude is a dick.
HOWEVER, that's not what everyone should be focusing on. People should be focusing on the fact that this is the first streaming service that the music industry has seen that is actually trying to support the artist. This is a very, VERY good thing. Especially since streaming is growing day by day. Spotify? They don't do sh*t for artists. They can't! They're trapped in a freemium cycle. They don't make anywhere near enough money off of the ads on the free service in order to pay every artist a reasonable amount of money for the streams they bring and make money as a business at the same time. They can't, because nobody pays for the premium service because there's a mentality in this country that people believe they are entitled to the music their favorite artists pour their heart and soul into. After all, every artist makes millions, right? I'd much rather pay $10 for that beer this weekend then upgrade to Spotify premium. I don't have too, because the artist doesn't need my money. They don't deserve my money.
Now obviously, that's not everyone's mindset. There are plenty of people out there who only use streaming services sparingly, and can't justify spending $10 a month on a streaming service. This is totally understandable, long as you get your music in a way that supports the artist. It's the former mindset that these guys are trying to change. They are trying to get the mainstream music fan who regularly uses Spotify free to realize that these indie artists scrapping together quarters to eat at Waffle House for the umpteenth time with no hope of affording a hotel room that night again DO in fact need the money for a premium service. They want people to use TIDAL to support these indie artists. And so far, they are failing miserably at effectively telling us this. But they are being helped in their failure by the music media. Consequence of Sound. CraveOnline. Mic. Gawker. Pitchfork. Even Mashable. The same media that claims to be for indie artists are shooting the very artists they say they support in the foot by not getting behind and supporting this streaming service. This to me is the saddest part of the whole TIDAL situation because the music media should be using their persuasive platform to highlight the good that TIDAL is trying to achieve within the streaming world. Not hate the system just because Jay Z is in charge of it. Do I dislike Jay Z? Yes. Obviously. Do I think his Made In America festival (Jay Z owns Made In America, for those who don't know) is one of the worst festivals on the planet and symbolizes everything wrong with the increasingly mainstream festival scene today? You better believe it. (This is after going to it two years ago and working at a venue where the touring "hype" shows they had in prep for the festival last fall came to, so I have legitimate reasons for hating it.) Does that mean I'm going to hate TIDAL right out of the gate because he's in charge of it? No. And you shouldn't either! Same to you, indie fans! The mainstream music elite is a necessary evil in this business, and it's important to remember that there is some good left among them. Some actual interest in helping indie artists succeed. Does Jay Z care? Does Kanye West care? Probably not. Well....Kanye might care. He's not as big an asshole as everyone thinks. But do you really think Jack White, Daft Punk, and Madonna would sign on to a venture like this simply just to make more money? Do they really need it? F*CK NO. Madonna could spend a million dollars a day the rest of her life and probably still have boatloads of extra money to spare. Jack White makes more than enough money with his Third Man Records venture. They are in it because this is the first streaming service that actually supports indie artists. They are trying to change the free mindset that has criminally infected this country. And while they are currently failing at it, the music media isn't helping their case, either.
The odds of TIDAL changing the mindset that has swept over the streaming music consumer is dwindling by the second, but I know I'm gonna join the losing fight to try to change it. All I ask is please, clear your mind of what everyone has been telling you about the service, and investigate TIDAL for yourself from an (somewhat) unbiased perspective. You might want to get on board afterwards. That's all I ask. Thanks for listening, everyone. I love you all.
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