Currently the music industry seems to be in an intermediate state. The transition from vinyl to CD to streaming services has transformed just within the last half century. Today, musicians are faced with new challenges such as: not being properly compensated or for a new musician establishing roots in a musical community. Earlier this week Jay z released his plans for a new online streaming service with videos called Tidal. There was a strong presence felt on social media with many musicians from Coldplay to Madonna using the tag #TIDALforALL to represent their feelings towards the proposed move initiated by Jay Z. The roots for this move are coming from the idea that these mainstream musicians are not being properly compensated for their music. Spotify is a huge market, sporting over 60 million listeners, but these listeners often are free listeners with the company profiting off advertisements and the musicians receiving a small portion. Jay Z in Tidal wants the musicians to own the streaming service. He envisions his streaming service to even move into more than just music and has hopes of making it an online community with concert tickets and merchandise following on the cite. The idea is that Tidal will cost a yearly total of either $10 or $20 (based on sound quality) but this money will be better distributed to the artists. I first researched some of the cons of Spotify after Taylor Swift removed her music from the application. Jay Z hopes this trend started by Swift will follow and result in a switch to Tidal.
To me, this is a smart entrepreneurial move from an entertainment mogul like Jay Z. He has the fame and notoriety to make a move this groundbreaking work. Though, I question how the equity within this company will be shared. At the press conference earlier this week, Jay Z was joined by: Madonna, Rihanna, Daft Punk, Beyonce, Jack White, Alicia Keys, Kanye West, Jason Aldean and many other large named musicians as scene below.
This to me does solve the problem of the mega stars not making as many millions as they would like but leaves out the little man. In this case, how does a band start out? Is Tidal going to be open to adding smaller name musicians? Based on limited speculations it seems that Jay Z does want to expand the streaming service to all genres, I mean the man had Jason Aldean at the initial press conference. That move shows he wants to branch out in genres. I still do question what the standard will be for musicians on Tidal, if I am producing in my basement a stood up mattress as a sound wall, do I have the opportunity to get my music heard or do I still have to rely on Facebook shares and YouTube? It is my hope that the music app is very open and easily accessible for every music fan. I recall the Beats app attempting to do something similar in creating a music app focused around playlists made by celebrities or certain types of stations, similar to Pandora. This app seemingly fell off the face of the electronic world. I do like the concept behind Tidal and hope that it is branched out for all genres and all musicians, not just the “rock stars” of music. Although this post does not mention bluegrass once, I feel that this topic is extremely important when accessing the change of how society hears music.