New music streaming site “Tidal” is…making waves

The first thing that comes to mind when I think about artists like Jay Z, Madonna and Kanye West usually isn’t “wow, I sure hope they’re making enough money.”  However, these three musicians plus 13 more  have decided to launch a music streaming website called “Tidal,” which ensures that artists will receive the compensation they deserve for their work.

Tidal, which is a reference to a wave destroying pirates, costs between $9.99 and $19.99 a month.  It offers a library of 25 million songs, which is 5 million more than Spotify.  It claims that the quality of the songs will be greater than any other streaming site like Spotify, Pandora and Google Play and that the artists involved will occassionaly drop songs to Tidal before any other site has access to them.

The creation of Tidal was announced in a YouTube video about 16 big-name artists getting together to discuss the concept.  They covered genres from hip-hop with Nicki Minaj to electronic with Daft Punk to rock with Jack White.  They’re drinking champagne essentially the entire time, moving their hands around like they’re making a TED Talk, and use the word “art” more frequently than they check their Twitter followers.  Needless to say, the video makes the whole concept seem pretentious and abstract.

They never exactly state what the website is, but do explain that it’s finally time for them to make a stand against… somebody.  They talk about how they’re making music history and about ending the persecution they’ve faced””all while meeting in a mansion that was probably paid for because of somebody’s success in the music industry. It’s almost like they’re trying to make an emotional appeal to an audience by making viewers pity their suffereing, but cannot take off their $500 watches for 10 minutes.  This makes their message convoluted and unbelievable. It’s also led to sharp backlash against the site.

The biggest issue with Tidal is that it’s unecessarily expensive.  Why would anybody spend $10 to $20 a month on a service that they could get on Spotify for free?  There aren’t many commonly-used websites that cost this much money while having a significantly cheaper competitor.  Netflix and Hulu cost $7.99 a month, which seems to be the most money a college student is willing to spend on leisurely entertainment.

In addition, the features that are supposed to separate Tidal from Spotify””the larger library, the higher quality and the earlier access to certain music””aren’t enough to convince anybody to pay so much more.  If there was an original feature that’s unavailable on any other site, I think people would consider the price difference, but Tidal simply isn’t good enough.

Jay Z and other artists have responded to the cost backlash by saying that the prices help new artists who need the money more.  However, they didn’t market this point at all.  In fact, they went in the opposite direction by making a grandiose statement of their wealth in a YouTube video meant to inform viewers about the product.