3.31.2015

Why Tidal is Not the Wave.

Before we even get into it, this post is solely based on my opinion and reflection on the research I have done. If there is anything that I present as fact and you know to be incorrect, please comment below and link me to your sources. But do not come for me on my opinion and say I'm wrong. I think we are all grown enough to have healthy debates. Now to this Tidal stuff.

If you were online yesterday, you were probably bombarded by photos and tweets about the relaunch of a streaming service called Tidal (formerly known as WiMP). It was recently purchased by Jay Z and he did something major with the ownership of the service. Hov gifted 16 artists 3% stake each in the company making Tidal the first artist owned streaming service. Artist owners of Tidal include Madonna, Chris Martin (of Coldplay), Beyonce, J.Cole, Rihanna, Usher, Alicia Keys, Nicki Minaj, and some others- google it. Collectively, they own 48% of the company. The other 52% is owned by Jay Z, some record labels, and another investor.

Tidal is being marketed as a "revolution" of... I don't really know. The artists owners are like "It's gonna change everything!", "This will put art back in the forefront!"-it's a streaming service, chill. So what makes Tidal different or superior to other streaming services like everyone's favorite, Spotify?

They offer something called HiFi. Hi fidelity is basically CD quality audio because the tracks are not compressed. Most music you hear on streaming services or even download is compressed so that it is easier to playback/listen to and doesn't take up a shitload of space on your devices. Hifi is suppose to make the music so crisp and clear that it feels like the artist is putting on a live performance right in front of you, just for you-how sweet!...eh.

So you hear that and are probably like, "Hell yeah, that's sounds awesome!" Well for the Hifi subscription on Tidal, you will be dishing out $20 a month. And I'm still weary about the price being advertised on the website because in the Apple App Store in the app's description, it says $25.99. But I don't know, y'all tell me. For some people, like myself, a $20 subscription is a deal breaker. For others, they are willing to put up $239.88 a year for this service. But is Hifi really for everyone?

The thing about Hifi is that you can't just play it on any device and expect it to sound amazing. You may not even hear a difference between what you're use to listening to and the Hifi version of it. You would have to have top of the line head/earphones and speakers and devices that support Hifi to hear the difference. So are you willing to not only pay $20 a month but also invest in some pricey equipment to listen to a slight difference? Again, some people are but from the reactions I saw online yesterday-most aren't.

So basically a bunch of celebrities got together, invested in a streaming service with one mediocre advantage and want to charge us like we are all making millions a year like them. Fuck outta here. Also, Tidal will have music videos and short films from artists... because YouTube and Vimeo just weren't cutting it. Fuck outta here 2x.

There are even more issues with this Tidal shit. I'm not feeling the lack of transparency. Hov said to Billboard,"...Will artists make more money? Even if it means less profit for our bottom line, absolutely. That’s easy for us. We can do that. Less profit for our bottom line, more money for the artist; fantastic.” Maybe it's cause I was a business major in college, but this seems vague to me. I actually want to know the method behind them giving artists more money per listen/stream. What do they mean by "more" or rather, how much more? Are they connected to SoundExhchange? Do artists have to not pull their music from other services? It has been rumored that content will be pulled from other services like Spotify and YouTube because of Tidal, but we'll see about that. What is the method behind this and what are the conditions for it when it comes to the artists? I want to know.
These artists were taking some real digs at the evolution of technology at the end of their little press conference video. They were acting like these tech companies did not see music as art and that artists were seen as products-bruh. You can not deny how much technology has helped the music industry and just music in general. Technology is not the enemy, y'all! Like I said on a post on Tumblr,
 "What they fail to realize is that technology helped get their music to the fans quicker and easier and also increase the reach of their music. It is 2015, the way people consume music and a lot of other things has changed and that is because of the evolution of technology. The fact that art doesn’t seem “important” is something that lies with the practices of record labels and these mainstream artists themselves."
We are in an age where people don't buy albums until they hear the album. And yes, artists should be paid for their music streaming. According to Spotify, they pay artists anywhere from $0.006 and $0.0084 per stream. But those rates have multiple variables that come into play. As we would love for artists to make $0.99 per stream, it just wouldn't work for the other parties involved, including you the consumer. Anyways, you and I, and even these artists, understand how important technology is to the average consumer of music. The art of music has not died in my opinion. People need who feel that way should make technology work for them in a way that still ensures the importance and quality of the art. Honestly, you could say that is what Hov and his friends are doing-but they own a business that needs consumers for it to thrive and I think they kind of forgot that part.

I could go on about how I'm not feeling the marketing for the relaunch of Tidal amongst other things, but that's just me being someone with a marketing degree being picky about it. Or even how Tidal is already pissing off artists for ripping off their music-so much for the "art" huh?

In conclusion, if you are that pressed about the sound quality of music you listen to or if 1080p HD video quality still isn't hitting it for you and you have an income/budget that allows you to pay $20 a month for a streaming service, then Tidal is probably for you. But for those of us who like what we have right now and it fits our lifestyle and budget, stick to what you got. Don't let this Tidal hype fool you. It's really not the deep. And I don't know if I want to feel like Beyonce is performing live right in front of me in the office, that actually could be a bit much.

Tidal does offer a 30 day free trial of both the Premium and Hifi subscriptions. If you try it out and feel that there is a big enough difference between Tidal and Spotify that everyone should try it, let me know. I would try it but I just really love my good ol' Spotify.

Here's a review by WhatHifi.com that you might find helpful before you sign up for Tidal.

Sources:
'Always More, Never Less'-Es

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