OMG! It’s a Tidal wave (hold on to your weave Beyoncé).

“We’re going to change the course of history,” Jay Z proclaims on camera right before he and his friends (who just happen to be some of the biggest recording artists in the history of man) raise a champagne toast to the glorious future of Tidal Music.

Last week Tidal launched itself under new management with one clear goal in mind: change the way how artists get paid for their work. According to Jay Z, Tidal is the first music streaming service that combines the best high fidelity sound quality with high definition music videos and expertly curated editorial.

Jay Z wants to ‘turn the tide’ and restore the value to music by launching a service owned by artists. Big names in the industry like Coldplay, Rihanna, Daft Punk, Alicia Keys, Calvin Harris, Jack White, Madonna, Usher, Arcade Fire, Deadmau5 and Beyoncé joined Jay Z in the owners circle (now how’s that for peer pressure?).

Click here to join the A-list and watch #TIDALforALL.

But turn the tide against what exactly? While Spotify uses ads to pay a pittance to its artists, Tidal aims to eliminate the middle man by having users pay the artist directly for the music they love.

Eliminating the middleman usually creates a win-win situation for the seller and the buyer from a money perspective but somehow this is not the case at Tidal Music.

Imagine this: canceling your Spotify subscription, and paying approximately €18,00 for a Tidal subscription instead. It’s more expensive because it’s “higher quality” and “artist-owned,” which is important because Usher, Daft Punk, and Madonna have been living in wretched penury for far too long, and it’s time for people to give back.

At DEARDAN&Friends we know that creativity is not a commodity and that every artist should be rewarded by the people that enjoy their work but in this case we question the true intention and the credibility of the brand.

Tidal would have been more likable (and believable) if Jay Z was helping out beginning artists, struggling for money and recognition. But since Tidal is owned by some of the most successful and richest people who ever walked this planet we are not so sure what to think.

The battle over how best to build the music business (and best for whom?) is going to get very heated over the next year. Taylor Swift’s departure from Spotify was a big moment, and Tidal’s move to capture exclusives and better reward artists is another.

The elephant in the room is Apple, which has plans to relaunch both its Beats streaming service and to integrate it with the iTunes music store. Apple reportedly also plans to eliminate the option of a free tier. And if there is any company on earth that can afford to pay a premium to woo artists and win exclusives, it would be the world’s richest and most profitable corporation.

Make it simple but significant.

Thanks to Mason Poole (Parkwood Entertainment, Picture Group), Sam Biddle (Gawker) and Ben Popper (The Verge).

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