TIDAL Live Brodcast Now!!

Go to Tidal now! to watch their live broadcast on the future of TIDAL.

Jonahsdad's picture

He's getting squeezed on his $10/month all you can eat, and he doesn't like it. "I hate 'exclusive'!" "It's anti-consumer!" (he's right about that.)

Business 101 for the 18 year old.

bobflood's picture

the beginning of the end of the MP3, AAC and blah blah blah era. I think someone finally understands that the quality of both the art and the medium matters.

Looking forward to the future Tidal.

Mark Tarone's picture

"Right now, they're writing the story for us. We need to write the story ourselves." Jay-Z

Today’s action by this large group of iconic artists is HUGE. It has potential to be the biggest game-changer in music in modern times. And clearly the artists think so. Having such a big and divergent group of artists assemble in one (rather odd) setting/location (on short notice - the Tidal purchase just cleared last week!) speaks volumes about their commitment and passion to make this work. Whether Tidal will be enormously successful on all levels remains to be seen. Regardless, the fact that today’s step-forward was taken is truly fantastic and a great thing for everyone.

This isn't about sound quality. This is about artists taking control of their future. It's about artist’s "owning" Tidal and the cultural & industry conversation.

Put another way, this is about artists owning streaming itself - the most important revenue channel for future recordings. Additionally, it’s about artists seeking to unify. The latter could be more important than the former…with Tidal being the catalyst to make unification happen.

Tidal gave artists an opportunity to get into the streaming market quickly and effectively - a chance to become a dominant force in streaming very fast. I don’t see them taking this action to improve sound quality but rather to take control overall - to own their content and the conversation and use the platform to unify. And what a great opportunity they have. A streaming product that is already working wonderfully worldwide and a climate that is incredibly ripe for positive change.

To date, major labels have been the dominant voices at the negotiating table with streaming service companies. That’s not good. Major labels are all biased against current artists to a large degree because the majors want/need to monetize their massive catalogs. Streaming is great for getting money out of old recordings (almost all of which are owned by major labels). Streaming has been awful when it comes to paying artists for new recordings. Pop artists get paid far less than they used to for new recordings, and non-pop artists are getting crushed. If an artist’s song gets streamed 1 million times on Spotify, the artist gets, at most, $6,000.00. How do non-pop artists pay for recordings, rent, healthcare, food for their kids, etc. with that?

Can artists taking control of Tidal change that? Maybe. And it definitely gives artists the ability to change the culture. That’s a huge deal. A change in culture is sorely needed. The average person will read this and say “really?” And that’s exactly the problem. The terrible state of our recording industry, and it’s negative impact on our communities should be obvious to all; instead, theses issues are barely visible.

I’m not saying that changing the culture is about artists screaming “woe is me.” Changing the culture (how we view and value artists) is about artists unifying and sharing their overall story - usually in a positive light. It’s about getting people to recognize a recording as the creation and property of an artist. It’s also about taking control of the #1 most important platform for recordings - streaming - and coming up with new ways to support artists through that platform. That could be using streaming services to promote Kickstarter campaigns for new recordings. Or maybe creating new ways to plan and promote tours (i.e. find fans and activate their support via streaming data). Artists need to control this platform - not record labels who are chained to their catalogs and handicapped by a shaky business model.

With streaming, artists have the ability to take control of their entire business. Record label support becomes less important than ever. With streaming, distribution is flat. And streaming is flattening radio. When streaming becomes dominant, the primary roles of labels will disappear (retail sales and radio). Artists will likely be better off on their own with managers and booking agents as their *primary* supporters. Artists have a unique chance to take control of their business and the cultural conversation. But they cannot do so as individuals. Unification is needed.

The importance of artist unification cannot be overstated. Except for the Grammy Foundation, there has been no major organization effectively sharing the story and needs of artists. Major record labels and RIAA have failed repeatedly. As Madonna and other artists alluded to in today’s Tidal video, recordings are now viewed as commodities not as the product and property of artists. Why is that? IMO - this problem is in large part due to record labels & RIAA controlling the conversation to date. And guess what recordings are to record labels and RIAA - commodities (assets). Artists cannot control the conversation via individual actions. They need to act as a unified force. Tidal gives them the platform and catalyst to do so.

Hats off to this group of iconic artists to recognize this opportunity. To take control. To be cultural leaders. Getting streaming service with high quality audio will simply be a great bonus. All the best to the Tidal group and godspeed!!

"We have joined in Tidal for the preservation of an industry and to deliver music and experiences in a way that's best for the consumer. That is why Tidal is dedicated to cultivating a sound business enterprise that promotes the health and sustainability of our art and our industry around the world. Because we believe it is in everyone's interest - fans, artists and the industry as a whole - to preserve the value of music and ensure a healthy and robust industry for years to come. Today is the Day. Today is the Day. Today is the day that we begin that journey together, all of us as one." -Alicia Keys

P.S. I happened to call out the need for this movement last week...and did so right here on Audiostream - excerpts from the post I made last week: “Would be great to see our culture get more excited about supporting artists with our pocketbooks and see the music industry make it more rewarding for people who do. Leaders please step forward… Artists need more control of the music industry conversation. They need. . .a unified voice (an organization) that has big impact on the industry conversation. The current conversation is incomplete, and that hurts everyone - including consumers in a big way.” Full post at: http://www.audiostream.com/content/streaming-music-revenue-tops-cd-sales

Michael Lavorgna's picture
Thank you for that very in-depth and from my way seeing very accurate take on the importance of Tidal's artist-owned approach.


DH's picture

I hope the above comments are correct. But maybe the all-star lineup really means that the money will continue to go to the big names, and not to small artists. Several of the big names involved are already on the downside of their commercial careers, so their interests might be more with maximizing value of catalog - and not in helping "the industry".
If Tidal/Spotify come to fully dominate the market, I'd then expect all these grand statements by the big names to result in benefits to all artists. I'll really believe they mean it when I see the rich artists willing to do something that helps the small artists more than it helps them.

Michael Lavorgna's picture
Streaming services live or die by the depth of their catalog. The bigger, the better. Tidal currently offers about 25 million tracks representing a very broad range of artists which is, I'd imagine, just one reason why Jay Z & Co. made the purchase.

I'm not sure why it's relevant that they're "rich" unless you feel that rich people are somehow automatically unreasonable?

I've read a lot of push back from the press on this same subject and it truly baffles me. Having an artist-owned streaming service has great potential for artists and the people who enjoy their music. It also comes at the right time seeing as physical media sales are dropping and streaming is on the rise. The established music industry is also having a difficult monetizing streaming services in a way that adequately compensates the people creating the music.

In my opinion, the "freemium" model employed by Spotify is the larger problem. While I agree we'll have to wait and see how Tidal develops, I see no reason or use in questioning people's motives simply based on how much money they have.

DH's picture

I don't care that they're rich. But the rich generally act in ways that help them get richer, not in ways that help the little guy.
So I'm all for artists controlling the money making. I'm just a little skeptical that this Tidal show will actually change anything.
As I said, I'll be happy to change my mind and say I was wrong when I see all these big shot artists making decisions that help the up and coming artist instead of just doing what's in their own interest.

drblank's picture

I think Jay Z & Co. should make Tidal a Non-Profit corporation and then the monthly fee we pay could be used as a tax write off, and if they ever reach profitability, then they could hand out music scholarships. That way they might get more people to sign up and then we would know these rich/famous celebrities aren't doing it for the money.

drblank's picture

One thing that does bother me is that these guys that bought into it are using it to put their own exclusive stuff up and that's what they would say is CONFLICT OF INTEREST. NOT COOL.

Geoff's picture

Thanks for all the overage of Tidal. I agree completely with Michael's approach. If Tidal sounds better than Spotify, Rdio or whatever -- to YOU -- and you have the money, why not use it? If it doesn't, stick with what you're listening to. Is it really more complicated than that?

Sadly Tidal does not seem to offer any email support so I don't know where else to pose this question:

My Hi-Fi is using an old Mac Powerbook G4 as the source for Pure Music, Rdio, etc. and it works fine. However Tidal seems to require Chrome as a web browser. As I understand it Chrome can not any longer be installed on a machine running Mac OS 10.5.8. This Powerbook cannot go beyond that OS. I also understand that the ONLY way to play the CD-quality FLAC files is via Chrome. So does all of this mean it is impossible for me to try Tidal on my setup? Many thanks for any clarifications anyone can offer!