Why Jay-Z’s ‘Tidal’ music subscription service doesn’t matter

“Yesterday, musician Jay-Z and a number of other millionaire musicians announced the (re)launch of Tidal, a streaming music service,” Kirk McElhearn writes for Kirkville. “It had initially gained some small amount of traction in the audiophile market as a lossless music streaming service (under the name WiMP), notably with a good selection of classical music, before being purchased by Mr. Z.”

“While it still offers lossless streaming – in a more expensive plan – the basic Tidal offers 25 million tracks for the standard price of $10 a month,” McElhearn writes. “What sets it apart is the fact that it is the fact that the majority of the company is owned by artists… [including Rihanna, Kanye West, Madonna, Nicki Minaj, Jack White, Alicia Keys, Daft Punk, and Beyoncé] who, according to the New York Times, have not invested their own liquidity in the company, but have been ‘granted shares in exchange for their good-faith efforts to supply exclusive content'”

McElhearn writes, “This ownership means nothing, though, in the broader scheme of things.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Just another also-ran set to be obliterated by iTunes Music.


  1. There basic plan still costs $10 a month. iTunes Radio is free.
    There so called high fidelity plan is $20 and you get nothing for it that iTunes Radio doesn’t already do for free.
    Bye bye Tidal!

    1. Don’t forget that they have done blind tests and literally no one can tell the difference between lossless and compressed music on even expensive equipment, it’s a complete shell game.

        1. I can hear the difference between my CDs and my 128s on a decent stereo. But frankly I don’t care. I’d rather have the disk space and less data used.

  2. As a result of the re-launch, I canceled my $20 sub with Tidal. The whole event smelled of “we don’t know what we’re doing”, particularly when the artists stood on stage awkwardly doing nothing for a couple of minutes due to no stage direction. My impression: “Gonna fail” and canceled.

  3. I like the concept of lossless music for sale- I have no interest in streaming only anything. I do not rent music, movies or TV. Content worth listening to or watching is worth buying.

    I personally do not like rap/hip-hop and do not consider rappers musicians.They are artists of some kind, but are not musicians. A musician sings or plays an instrument. I have no interest in someone jumping around running their mouth to a drum track.

    Not one dime to (c)rappers. Not one red cent.

    Shawn Carter and his Thunder-Thighed Wife don’t need the money, anyhow.

    1. Streaming lossless music makes very little sense to me. Where do people mostly listen to streaming music? When they’re on the go, so they’re using mobile phones, cars, bluetooth speakers, and headphones to listen to music in a noisy environment. So the high-fidelity broadcast is worthless. Just a marketing gimmick to keep the few audiophiles Tidal had before.

      A streaming service isn’t going to succeeds because a few famous names own it or it promises to pay more money to artists (e.g., 0.9% is more than 0.5%, but it’s still not much). The service will succeed because it provides more value (price), better streaming experience (technology), and better curated music (playing your preferences, not random crap). Miss on any one of these, and it’s done.

  4. I don’t listen to radio. Or streaming music. I buy albums on iTunes or if the price is similar and “deluxe editions” available, CD’s. Vinyl is the past, always hated it, and Tidal and Pono are future failures. Artists are not necessarily technological innovators. The interesction hasn’t happened yet- at least, not since iTunes.

  5. Itunes Radio will soon be discontined so enjoy it while it lasts, as soon as Apple announce the Beats Music streaming service which will be paid for!!!! Probably $9.99 No free streaming. Thats why itunes radio never even made it to europe, the record labels did not want free streamed music without payment.

    Jay Z has managed to get exclusive right to these artist something Apple would liked to have done. thats why Jimmy Lovine has been trying to poach these artists back.

    So Apple paid what $3 billion for Beats and Jay Z managed to get tidal for $56 million. So Apple spent what $2.944 billion for a Headphone company that makes crap plastic headphones which break and sound really pooor quality and are bought by spotty teenagers because they know no better!!!!

  6. First off, nobody cares about lossless. At least no one in any considerable number.

    That means that the only value proposition or differentiator is that “the artists get mo’ money”. The “artists” have carefully crafted their images such that they are not one of us, and have an upper-crust lifestyle. Whether they do or not doesn’t matter-that’s what they have cultivated.
    The great unwashed masses don’t give a f*** if Jay-Z or Beyoncé or whomever make another dime-they have multiple times more than the rest of us will ever have.
    Neither I nor anyone else will pay Tidal so the “artists” get paid. They better come up with a better reason to switch from an entrenched Spotify or an integrated Beats. I don’t think they can.

      1. The artists are signed up with iTunes/Beats, which does pay more than Pandora, iHeart Radio, etc.

        But artists have never made a huge amount of money off of selling songs/albums. The vast bulk of their money comes from touring, and that won’t change. That’s where the artists are in control of their sales, costs, etc. The song/album sales are the carrot to get people to the big venues for concerts.

        Why else do you think the Rolling Stones, Journey, Def Leppard, etc. etc. keep touring but don’t release new material? They’re not wasting time on non-profitable efforts, and if the new album fails, that likely reduces ticket sales.

        1. you’re right. what i meant was they should align and promote themselves with Apple’s new service (and possibly ditch Spotify like Taylor Swift) instead of starting something brand new and fighting an uphill battle

        2. You are incorrect. The majority of artists make their money from selling recordings. It’s just the select few mega stars that make mega bucks touring. The other 95% of artists don’t have the following to tour profitably.


    Here is why… Yea Jay-Z has purchase Tidal, love him or hate him. There a couple things that perhaps all of you are missing.

    Tidal is going to be using Meridian’s MQA technology – I’m guessing none have heard of it, they are also moving to 24/96 and finally 24/192 by years end. As a hifi manufacturer of speakers, and seeing where the hifi/audio world is headed and is right now, this service is waaaay beyond expectation. I was an early beta user, and have continued through the next gen encoding…. Pretty f’ing impressive!

    Let’s just say iCal’d MDN – I am a huge supporter of Beats Music, still am – but Tidal is for a different consumer. One who spends TENS to HUNDREDS of thousands of dollars on their sound systems. 2 channel… Or for the guy who really takes music seriously. Someone who knows what it is they want to listen to. Their ‘recommended’ list is from a close knit groups of audiophiles. Not sales models..

    Now Jay-Z could certainly F this up, but from what I’ve heard he is a smart business man, he will enfuse Tidal with the $ to complete their roll out. They will consumed by someone, but for a completely different reason. And yea J-Z will make big bucks. But I really beleive he is rooting for the technology and not the quick payout.

    When you talk to the people at Tidal, and they are eager to work with the industry to deliver a product which is worthy of Apple-esc fit and finish.

    This is going to be big, but just in another way.

    Remember when it wasn’t about Apple making all the cash they do now. It wasnt about domination – it was about doing the right thing, the right way. Once everyone ‘got it’ of course they made more money than you can imagine. The point is they started someplace.

    It’s my opinion that Tidal is doing the right thing the right way. It just so happens that J-Z sees it that way too.

    1. I don’t mean to disparage Jay-Z-I have great respect for him and what he’s done both in business and music.

      “but Tidal is for a different consumer. One who spends TENS to HUNDREDS of thousands of dollars on their sound systems”

      Does anyone really think there are enough people who spend “$10,000-$100,000s on sound systems” to support a streaming service?

      Not a chance.

    2. What are you smoking? Streaming services succeed on volume of listeners. The customer you profile numbers MAYBE in 10,000 to 15,000 tops. These services only work on models of millions and tens of millions. I understand there is a lucrative market for audiophiles, but it is a small market (high margins, low volume).

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