Jay-Z’s Tidal – Music to our ears?


April 10, 2015 read

Jay-Z’s Tidal – Music to our ears?

Siân Claire Owen, Director, 3FoldCreate

Jay-Z, Madonna, Rihanna, Coldplay, Taylor Swift and a whole raft of musical big wigs have ganged together to launch the online music subscription service Tidal – purchased by Jay-Z for a reported $56 million (marginally less than the bill for Beyonce’s birthday bashes).

Jay-Z and his band of musical titans all have shares in Tidal, and all want to take down Spotify due to the amount of free music that users can access, albeit with adverts. And on the surface this makes sense – why should artists be ripped off? Why should us, the consumers, enjoy the fruits of their labour for free?

On the other hand, Spotify is essential for lesser known artists without deep pockets for marketing a-la Jay-Z. Plus there is the magic of serendipity – finding weird and wonderful music by accident and opening your eyes and ears to new artists. I doubt Tidal will be able to deliver on this front.

The thing is, the likes of RhiRhi, Madge and Coldplay are coming across as a tad greedy. Coldplay have a reported net worth of $475 million, whilst Madonna is worth a ball-busting $800 million. Hardly impoverished artists wondering where their next meal is coming from. And their YouTube promotional video documenting the launch of #TIDALforALL is just ludicrous. 

This is a historic day, it changes the course of history,’ Jay-Z prophesises. ‘I just thought about how crazy this is, like it’s the beginning of a new world,’ squeaks Kanye West. ‘It’s about bringing humanity back to the artist,’ growls Madonna. ‘Not technology. Art’.

Ah, hyperbole. You’ve got to love it. But beyond the self aggrandisement do they have a point? Maybe.

Personally I think that Tidal will sink under the weight of it’s own guff. Why would people pay money to line the pockets of Beyonce & Co when they can access free music elsewhere?

I could be wrong. What do you think?