Jay Z, Beyoncé, Madonna and rich friends offer pricey Spotify alternative called …

31 Mar 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

3 reasons why Jay Z’s new Tidal streaming service is stupid.

At 5 p.m. in New York City on March 30, 2015, some of the most famous, wealthy musicians the world has ever known gathered to make planet Earth an offer they thought it couldn’t refuse.

The offer came not from schlubs playing covers at open-mic nights, but from Jay Z, Beyoncé, Rihanna, Madonna, Jack White, Kanye West and Daft Punk, among others. It was a really big to-do for the launch of a streaming service, and it was easy to get lost, so here are the main takeaways: It was cool, but mostly contrived. Alicia Keys delivered a long, ornate speech about the new platform, but actually gave up little to no details about what it actually is, other than that it’s the first global music platform owned by artists, and that the program will offer curated playlists and higher quality audio than its competitors. The Beatles’ Ringo Starr addressed the issue with Reuters TV on Monday: “All I ever hear is that your record has been streamed 17 million times and they give you a check for 12 bucks.

It’s just the mind-set right now.” “Only a few minutes ago, the entire music industry stood on a stage in a collective display of how rich and out of touch they are,” Gawker gawked. “They think you are willing to pay up to double the price of other streaming music services to pay for their streaming music service, because they are crazy.” On social media, the hashtag #TIDALforALL quickly became the depository for off-the-cuff irony about the need for a new way to listen to music that only serves the 1 percent. “Appreciate the collaboration, but #TIDALforALL more than anything benefits the artists that own it, not the consumer,” one Twitter user wrote. “So why should we care?” Such criticism ignored the fact that, if musicians already making a great living fear streaming, those musicians struggling to make ends meet might have all the more reason to worry. Cole, Daft Punk, Calvin Harris, Madonna, Nicki Minaj, Deadmau5, Beyoncé, Usher, Win Butler and Régine Chassagne, and Jack White were there, and they’re all co-owners. While the glitzy line-up on Monday did not directly address compensation, Alicia Keys said, “We believe it’s in everyone’s interest … to preserve music.” Tidal is offering a mix of stock and cash to its owners for promotional support, which does not include rights to the music, the Financial Times reported. With sales of physical music in the toilet — and Spotify paying as little as .6 cents per stream — artists have had to explore other ways of turning a riff into a dollar.

Tidal is an offspring of Jay Z’s company Project Panther Bidco, which acquired more than 90 percent of the Swedish streaming music company Aspiro AB for $54 million earlier this month. The service is also available at two plans: a $9.99 per month option which gets you the standard quality, or $19.99 per month HiFi plan that gets you the highest quality, which is lossless audio.

Some explore licensing for television, film and even advertising — a hustle once sniffed at by many. “Piracy, file sharing and streaming have shrunk the numbers of paid album sales drastically, and every artist has handled this blow differently,” Swift wrote in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece a few months before she said goodbye to the streaming service. Though Swift wasn’t at Jay Z’s press conference, some of her music is already available on Tidal. “Music is art, and art is important and rare,” Swift added. “Important, rare things are valuable. It’s my opinion that music should not be free, and my prediction is that individual artists and their labels will someday decide what an album’s price point is.” Tidal, it should be noted, is not Spotify’s only potential competitor. In addition to partnerships with most major record labels, Tidal has so many co-owners because they were all offered a 3% stake in the company to secure exclusives. It remains to be seen if Tidal can offer artists a better deal — and whether fans are aware enough of the brutal economics of streaming for artists to turn Tidal into a tidal wave.

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