The ink has barely dried on Jay Z's $56 million dollar acquisition, but TIDAL is already in full PR mode.
With the launch event taking place late yesterday, the first wave of criticisms are in. The service, which will rely almost exclusively on user subscription (at a going rate of $20/per month), has so far failed to resonate with its target.
In possibly the biggest and most ostentatious show of clout, Jay Z rounded up all of his famous friends for a repositioning exercise that seems both gratuitous and laughably misguided--even for this particular group of celebrities.
In the promotional video, the biggest names in popular music sit around a table speaking in hyperbole about "the future of music" and "changing the game" while completely missing the point of the thing they proclaim to love so much: music.
We didn't like the direction music was going and thought maybe we could get in and strike an honest blow and if the very least we did was make people wake up and try to improve the free-versus-paid system, and promote fair trade, then it would be a win for us anyway.Jay Z
TIDAL is not revolutionary
One look at the video "likes" bar will say it all. People aren't sold on the idea of #TIDALforALL.
At its very core, TIDAL is a music streaming service. There isn't very much that's revolutionary about something that costs a great deal more money to play CD quality music. CDs aren't some archaic music delivery system. You can still buy them in stores.
Such a shame... These artists had a chance to give something back to the people who made them millionaires #TIDALforALL— Al Britten (@AlBritten) March 31, 2015
I genuinely thought that #TIDALforALL was raising funds for some type of disease or charity, but no it's just to make themselves richer— Madihah Ansari (@madihahansari) March 31, 2015
lol why are all the artists acting like #TIDALforALL is a 'movement' when it's actually just an app to make them even richer— ruby (@bbloodsports_) March 31, 2015
Don't get us wrong, Spotify's model isn't great. While we don't agree with paying unreasonable prices for designer music subscription services, Spotify's artist royalties are abysmal. We want our favourite artists to get paid but TIDALS' model relies too heavily on the assumption that "artists for artists" will inspire people to fork over a massive chunk of their hard earned money.
TIDAL missed their base by a mile
It's hard to convince music fans that they should all flock to a service without a free option simply because Jay and Bey said so. In fact, it's hard to sing the lines "I guess sometimes sh*t goes down when there's a billion dollars on an elevator" in one breath and ask for $240 a year in the next breath.
The nature of the music industry is such that fans are keenly aware of their favourite artist's net worth, making this whole thing all the more awkward.
According to a Yougov profile of Beyonce fans, members of the singer's base say they have less than £125 left over at the end of each month. It also says that Beyonce fans are, on average, between the ages of 18-24 (which is a demographic that could probably be extended to include Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, DeadMau5 etc.). If your core base admit they have little to no money at the end of the month, is a high end music streaming service at the top of their priority list?
Users want social justice, not just more of the same
Criticism of the TIDAL launch has revealed something else about the platform of mainstream musicianship. Users are increasingly pointing out that they wish their favourite artists were involved in social justice causes instead of lining their pockets.
#TIDALforALL is definitely mimicking social justice rhetoric and that really pisses me off because these artists were quiet for real issues— Little Oprah (@Kahduna) March 31, 2015
This #TIDALforALL thing just shows celebs are extremely selfish... Where was the big campaign for the violence thats going on around us?— Belle (@BelleEmpressCee) March 31, 2015
Something very wrong with presenting capitalistic ventures like #TIDALforALL as social justice movements— angela (@AngelaSwin) March 31, 2015
I seriously thought #TIDALforALL was some sort of save the world campaign, not a streaming service to make millionaire artists richer...— Jessie Milian (@JessieMilian) March 31, 2015
While fans should welcome new and innovative ways of music delivery, TIDAL is not the answer. The roll out was rushed, the USP is shaky at best, and the base has all but disappeared out from under them. TIDAL is, in actuality, a TIDAL wave of bad ideas.