Why Jay-Z’s Tidal music venture is a complete disaster

“Jay Z unveiled Tidal at a press conference in late March, flanked by 15 of the biggest acts in the music business, including his wife, Beyoncé, Madonna, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, Jack White, and Kanye West, all of whom were introduced as equity shareholders. Many seemed awkward and unprepared. Another owner, Alicia Keys, quoted Nietzsche and gushed about Tidal’s cultural significance: ‘We’re gathered … with one voice, in unity, in the hopes that today will be another one of those moments in time, a moment that will forever change the course of music history,'” Devin Leonard writes for Bloomberg. “There was a lot of utopian rhetoric about restoring the value of music in the digital age. Less time was spent on new features, technology, or other reasons for listeners to try—and pay for—a Tidal subscription.”

“The backlash was immediate. Tidal’s detractors weren’t just the predictably vexatious music bloggers, who described the service as little more than a vehicle for musical plutocrats to line their pockets. The haters also included some of Jay Z’s peers,” Leonard writes. “‘They totally blew it by bringing out a bunch of millionaires and billionaires and propping them up onstage and then having them all complain about not being paid,’ said Ben Gibbard, lead singer of the indie rock group Death Cab for Cutie. The habitually caustic Noel Gallagher of Oasis told Rolling Stone, ‘Do these people think they are the f—in’ Avengers? They are going to save the f—in’ [world]?'”

“It’s too early to write off Tidal,” Leonard writes. “But if the company does fail, it may be because Jay Z didn’t anticipate the skeptical response to his claim that he was working for some greater good of all musicians. He’s fundamentally a cynic. How could he not be treated that way, after dumbing down his music and attaching his name to everything from Budweiser to Microsoft? No wonder people have questioned his motives with Tidal. As Jay Z himself once put it, “I sell ice in the winter. I sell fire in hell. I am a hustler, baby. I sell water to a well.””

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: It’s too early to write off Tidal*, but it won’t be after June 8th.

*For some. We wrote it off back in March.


Jay-Z’s Tidal music service is already a spectacular flop – April 21, 2015
Why Jay-Z’s ‘Tidal’ music subscription service doesn’t matter – March 31, 2015


        1. There are many but egotistical a-holes are off the list. That’s a big problem since there are few worthy mainstream artists anymore. A lot of great artists go unsung, just this same mediocre lot get all the attention being regurgitated ad nauseum to the American public and the world. All we have now is unlistenable garbage and candy pop. Some of that is fine, just not a steady diet.

      1. I’m shocked at the number of downvotes this post has received. I wish people that have no understanding of a musical genre would keep their ignorant opinions to themselves. Minaj and West are lyrical geniuses who write all of their own material. If all these people think rapping is so easy, why don’t they try it sometime?

    1. I agree partially, but there’s more to music than HipHop, Emo and Thrash Metal. Miles Davis? The Who? Bach? Oh never mind. The next thing I’ll be told is that I listen to “Old People Music”.

    2. My post alluded to such visionary talents as Niki Minaj, Kanye West, and their ilk. Having a radio hit doesn’t reflect creative genius or even talent these days.

      (Remember that Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, the Who or Queen never won a Grammy. That should say it all IMO!)

  1. I think people MIGHT pay for a streaming service that had all artists available but I doubt it that anyone would pay much for a limited line up.

    iTunes does need competition but this isn’t it.

    Bottom line, artists have been getting ripped off by Record Companies for a long time. If I was a musician, I’d produce my own music, keep the rights to it, and put it up on iTunes (for worldwide distribution), and also sell directly to my fans from my own website. I’d hesitate to let anyone stream it.

    There is another direction that the music industry could take- digital music and streaming may very well become worthless. The money to be made would be in live performance only. Before you think this is crazy, this is what happens in EVERY other profession. Engineers don’t get paid by how many people use the buildings, cars, or products they design. No assembly line worker gets paid on how many miles you drive in the car they put together.

  2. Jay-Z and others of his ilk profit off the backs of their so-called people’s despair:

    Among other things, the “entertainment” industry, as led by greedy hypocrites like Jay-Z, needs to stop peddling garbage that contributes to literally killing entire communities.

    1. …and to illustrate this you cite a guy that profits from scaring the crap out of old people on a nightly basis. Are you really that devoid of self-awareness?

      Maybe you scrub off the rationalization with one of Bill’s famous falafel [sic] showers?

  3. there is a bunch of buzz about this on the internet…but to me these artists have always kind of acted this way. made their music worse in the interest of money. same old song, just a different tune.

  4. I read the ENTIRE feed this morning. What a WASTE of MY time.

    Conclusion…. Shawn is nothing more than a rich scam artist. He got LUCKY. Along with his truckloads of drug money that allowed his rise to the mediocre or worse shit “music” if you can even call what he performs “music”.

    If you have enough money to waste, you can make people do & say ANYTHING. Just ask the SamDung executives.

    Mediocre: Lacking exceptional quality or ability. or As Steve would say SHIT!

  5. Most people who grew up purchasing music have a hard time “renting” it. Regarding taste…it seems that we hear the “garbage corrupting the youth” argument with every generation. West and Minaj et al. are not for me (then again I already own the music I like!)

  6. If Jay-Z, Minaj et al are what passes for music these days, I despair. The one time I accidentally came across a Jay-Z track on the radio, my cat ran from the room.

    I have no problem with people who like those artists—if it floats your boat, fine—personally I find that stuff without any merit whatsoever.

    I used to freelance as an engineer at a studio years ago: twin Otari 24-tracks, 72-channel SSL 4000 and more outboard gear than you could shake a stick at. One “band” I had in consisted of a guy with two record decks and a couple of—and I use the term in it’s broadest possible sense—singers. Quite why their record company stuck them in a facility costing over £300 an hour was quite beyond me—unless it was a tax write-off!

    It was that this point I lost any faith I had in the music industry…


  7. Artists can now sell and market all their music online without record companies. It’s tough to get attention that way, but there are countless independent artists doing it, and some are succeeding.

    Tidal seemed to offer nothing to (or from) these kinds of independent artists, or to even acknowledge their existence, despite a mutual desire to work around record companies.

    The only problem Tidal talked about with record companies is taking too much of their profit – which sounded completely tone-deaf about everything record companies have done to make them famous and rich in the first, and the many barriers record companies place in front of artists struggling to succeed without them.

    Tidal’s talk made them sound completely oblivious to anything in music outside of a tiny isolated rich celebrity bubble.

  8. Ironic millionaire musicians say they don’t earn enough money. Keep your lousy overpriced music service because you’re the type that is spoiled rotten. They should be ecstatic about how good they have it. Give back to there fans instead of making up a crummy music service to over charge there fans so they can earn millions more!😠👎

  9. Some of us reach for a higher standard of sound quality. If MP3 at 64 to 128k and a pair of overpriced Beats cans is good enough for ya, so be it. Chances are, you’re young, uneducated in music and going deaf from playing your garbage too loud.

  10. Point of order:
    Rappers are NOT musicians. Musicians do not run their mouth spewing misogynistic trash over a rhythm track.

    Musicians compose and/or perform Music with their voice- as in singing- or with an instrument. Can’t play a guitar and grab your crotch at the same time.

    1. DavGreg, you need to get your head out of the strong guitar-driven speakers. Rap is a form of music, and rappers are musicians. That genre has spurred so many different offshoots of other music it has influenced greatly what the music scene is today. Now, you can have your quarrels about an artist not sounding good, just like in any other genre, but to make your claim is just sheer nonsense. I can only image your in your 60s and miss living the good years of the beatles being on the radio and pink floyd being the fringe on new sounds…but this is the 21st century and we live in a different time. Your statement defines you as someone who doesn’t try anything new. Because if you did, you would have never said what you said. Maybe you saw a video of a girl shaking her butt to a guy spewing off off-kiltered rhymes, but thats the stuff that is driven for mass appeal. Rap has deep roots and a deep underground. So, do yourself a favor and dig into some old school 80s rap and you might find yourself understanding why so many people like this genre.

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