A streaming music service owned by music artists will change the course of music history about as much as a Wal Mart employ owning a franchise of the store would change the course of retail history.
Jay-Z’s new streaming service Tidal, which is co-owned by a number of industry heavyweights, is going to “change the course of music history”. With a showy event, and high quality video, some fans and media were (moderately) dazzled by the vale of artistic merit and buzzwords, but seem to be overlooking the fact that this is just another streaming music service.
Irregardless of the interface the service uses, it’s still a pay-to-play app that plays music on your computer or portable device. Most consumers seemed put off by the service’s tiered price, but in all honesty, the $20 USD fee for the higher sound fidelity probably doesn’t effect them. Audiophiles might give a shit, but not the average head.
Besides the service’s seemingly ambivilant attitude towards its “late to the party” status, here’s what kind of irked me at face value – and please understand I have no current info on the fine print of its artist share. Listen, I get it. Artists aren’t getting paid as much as they should for streaming. Services like Spotify, which are partly owned by labels, are blurring lines and paying artists next to nothing for the use of their music. But why is this surprising? Labels have been stiffing artists for years. There is no money in the commercial sale of music through a label. The money is in live performing and merchandising. It’s a fact.
Music today is different. The way the average person consumes it is much different. A streaming music service owned by music artists will change the course of music history about as much as a Wal Mart employ owning a franchise of the store would change the course of retail history. I think the most ridiculous thing is that they are using buzz words and phrases like “bringing the art to the forefront” and “letting creativity reign” to describe this service. When De La Soul uses Kick Starter to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars from loyal fans to produce, manufacture and release a new album, they are putting “creativity first”, and transparently giving fans something of value.
Tidal comes off like a group of rich mainstream elite complaining. It has the appeal of a group of Oscar winners scolding moviegoers for streaming movies for free online. Fans pay ridiculous ticket pricing for concerts – OVO and Kanye tickets go anywhere from $100 to, well, infinite. Fans shouldn’t have to spend more money out of guilt for a service that seems motivated by business rather than artistic merit. That’s all I’m saying. The rich get richer.