Is Tidal Just Too Much For You? Middle Fingers Up!

Try not to play yourself, you’re only lying to yourself if you get caught up in those click baiting media plays taking every shot they can to throw shade at Beyonce and co – people you just gotta let it be, it’s time to stop being all jealous and crazy over Tidal!

With a year now under it’s belt, I really don’t like being told which rich bitch monopoly I should be spending my money on, especially when the media agenda is all so sentimental about those tax evading elite billionaires – so we gotta ask, really why all the hate?

The tragic passing of Prince this Friday, was a revealing insight into what was either some pretty lame fact checking on behalf of the big news networks like CNN, or a case of straight denial. As fans flocked online to trace back through his extensive music catalogue, it was widely being reported that Prince’s music was unavailable to stream – anywhere. Considering Prince’s much publicised and controversial break with Spotify, his decision to move his entire catalogue to Tidal, seemed to be suspiciously and deliberately overlooked. As we reviewed Prince’s legacy, his proclamation in 2010 that the internet was completely “over”, had been clarified by him again in 2015 – “What I meant was that the internet was over for anyone who wants to get paid, and I was right about that,” he said “Tell me a musician who’s got rich off digital sales. Apple’s doing pretty good though, right?”.

Leaving no doubt in our minds, Prince’s partnership with Tidal had been a move to take artistic control yet it barely got a positive column inch considering he’d been pretty right about it all when it came to artists. Then came Saturday night, as the 3rd biggest album rollout of 2016 broke the internet, it was game ‘over’ again – for Spotify and every other streaming service. Spotify’s global head of communications and public policy, Jonathan Prince, bemoaned: “We believe long-term exclusives are bad for artists and they’re bad for fans.” – bad for your bottom line it seems.

Out rolled the predictable naysayers and haters who were feeling pretty snubbed, Beyonce’s ‘Lemonade’ album had swiftly followed Rihanna’s ‘Anti’ and Kanye’s ‘The Life Of Pablo’ as a Tidal streaming exclusive, and this time there was no denying the media was pretty glum overall. Following an HBO premiere which also simultaneously launched HBO’s free preview weekend trial, somehow Tidal’s renewed 3 month trial wasn’t getting the same kind of welcome reception.

Beyonce is nothing short of a genius executor when it comes to tightly controlled launches, from her Super Bowl ‘Formation’ to her Ivy Park clothing launch and the HBO 1 hour film special, no leaks or loose lips have sabotaged this media story. Defying traditional promotion rollouts, when Beyonce dropped her self-titled surprise album days before Christmas 3 years ago she was completely in control and it was nothing short of a game changer. This time around, the beyhive were already in ‘Formation’ and with her first tweet in 3 years, Beyonce got back to stacking the money, money. I mean can you really expect the baddest girl in the game to follow anyone elses rules. Tidal is the dealbreaker that’s pushed every other streaming service to the curb. Like it or not, Beyonce, Kanye, Jay-Z, Rihanna and co are making a power play for control of their own music – because it’s nobodies business but theirs.

Since ‘Lemonade‘, Tidal has now become the most downloaded music app in the U.S., beating out Pandora and Spotify, and topping many app stores worldwide. Like the media blackout and fearmongering around political candidates Bernie or Jeremy, there are no favours granted to Jay-Z or Tidal, the only news to hit the headlines frequently are stories reporting salacious details about lawsuits or senior sackings. There’s been a years drought of fairly balanced reviews about the sound quality of the streaming service, the exclusive catalogue, or even the slew of exclusive films or concerts, funded and premiered on the platform from The-Dream, Pusha T, Twenty88 and now Beyonce.

If you’re a keen follower of the Tech press, well they’ve also been at it too, vociferously undermining any business strategy that poses a threat to monopoly rule. How dare a new entrant try to take control of the very thing the valley elite are determined to keep their pockets lined with – content. So maybe it’s no coincidence that this new class action suit against Tidal was filed in the U.S. District Court in San Francisco – hmmm home to Silicon Valley tech magnates right? Typical tech press coverage has ranged at the time of launch from something like this as reported in Quartz;


And today it’s no different, as The Right Web virtually pleaded fans not to subscribe to Tidal, I mean jeez you might as well throw Daily Mail and Fox news into the mix and the circle of hate is complete, oh wait a minute…. of course that media ho, Piers Morgan aired his irritation in that pitiful paper, the Daily Mail.

The Next Web vs Tidal

They called Mr Carter paranoid but it’s starting to feel like those Tidal Facts in April, were onto something.

If anything the pro-artist has exposed the anti-artist stance of the tech companies, as Tidal are tweaking their premium audio visual service and even making moves into the movie business, subscribers will soon be watching original films on the platform. Earlier this year, the rumour mill reported that Kanye West is developing a film script with Bret Easton Ellis, and talks have been underway with the Weinstein Co., about a potential partnership.

Jay-Z made clear his feelings about power of the payola when it comes to certain tech elites protecting their multi-billion dollar business, I’ve been saying this for more than a minute, this is streaming war at it’s fiercest. In a year and some change later, Jay-Z is also now filing a lawsuit against the former owners of Tidal, claiming they originally falsified the subscriber number when he purchased the company. When Jay-Z made a play for Aspiro the original music subscription service, their claims to have secured a subscriber base of 503,000 users, may have seemed like a small payout at $57m back in March 2015. For a savvy businessman like Jay-Z cutting his partners a piece in the streaming business made perfect sense, even if his PR launch didn’t quite. Within 6 months Tidal was up to a million subscribers despite no giant star releases;

Another 6 months later, and people were starting to get a little nervous, as it began boasting 3 million subscribers, compared to Spotify’s 30 million paying users and the 11 million of Apple Music. Tidal’s exclusive live stream of Yeezy Season 3 and a run of Kanye West ‘The Life Of Pablo’ had certainly upped the anti indeed. With over 20 artist-owners holding an equity stake, including Lil Wayne, T.I., Damian Marley, as well as Kanye, RiRi and Jay, Beyoncé’s ‘Lemonade’ drop is just that – a drop in the ocean of what may still be in store.

Sources have already claimed that, “Tidal has upset everybody in the music business, the labels, Apple and [Interscope founder] Jimmy Iovine, and now it is taking on Netflix and Hulu.” Tidal has already sought approval from Apple to add movie streaming to their Tidal app, which could be updated by June.

With YouTube now also under fire about its lack of transparency in artist payments in it’s direct dealings with the major labels, as Music Business worldwide reported, Metallica manager Peter Mensch hit out at YouTube in a BBC Radio 4 documentary, saying: “YouTube? They’re the devil. If someone doesn’t do something about YouTube, we’re screwed. It’s over. Turn off the lights.”

So like it or not, maybe some have been a bit late to this party or just damn right stubborn to admit that Prince first and Jay-Z last, might have been onto something. Sorry, they ain’t sorry about it – Tidal has something those other streaming platforms don’t – it’s artist owned and those artists are ready to take all the risks in the short term to correct the wrongs and take back control of their content. So roll up your sleeves, put your middle fingers up, they ain’t thinking about you Daniel Ek, we just gotta let it be.