I don’t use Spotify, but CB does and she says she likes it. But the big-name artists have gotten mad at Spotify. The big-name artists have decided to take their toys and launch their own exclusive, expensive, artist-owned streaming service, courtesy of Jay-Z. Jay-Z bought – for $56 million – the streaming service Tidal. Yesterday, Jay-Z and all of his celebrity musician friends did a big launch/press conference thing. Gawker called the event “bonkers” and said “the entire music industry stood on a stage in a collective display of how rich and out of touch they are.”
At an event in New York on Monday, Madonna, Beyonce, Kanye West, and 13 other performers announced they had become co-owners of Tidal. The service launched last October, but was recently bought by rapper Jay Z. It is hoping to compete with the likes of Spotify, Deezer and Google Play.
However Tidal offers 25 million music tracks, fewer than the 30 million offered by many rival services. As well as a standard subscription for $9.99 a month, Tidal offers a “high fidelity” option for $19.99, which claims to deliver better sound quality.
Singer Alicia Keys spoke on behalf of the artists as they all lined up on stage at Skylight at Moynihan Station in Manhattan. Describing the event as a “graduation”, she said the artists hoped Tidal would alter musical evolution. “So we come together before you on this day, March 30th, 2015, with one voice in unity in the hopes that today will be another one of those moments in time, a moment that will forever change the course of music history.”
Their mission, she said, goes beyond commerce and technology.
“Our intent is to preserve music’s importance in our lives,” she said.
Notably, the majority of the company will be owned by artists, a symbolic move in a business where musicians often have little control over how their work is distributed and consumed. Jay Z’s strategy will include encouraging artists to lobby their labels to give Tidal new music a week in advance of other services, giving it a short window of exclusivity.
Eh, my thought? Let the market take care of this. If people really care about paying more for music just because the service is “artist owned,” then Tidal will be a success. But I assume most people really won’t care and the market will swallow Tidal. Jay might even make a profit when he sells it to iTunes or whatever. CB thinks that this is just a shallow cash-grab by already-rich and well-established artists and I tend to agree. That being said, I doubt it will really go anywhere. We’ll see.
Photos courtesy of Getty, WENN.