Why Musicians Who Sign Up With Jay Z’s Tidal Probably Won’t Earn More, Yet

1 Apr 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

A First Look at Jay Z’s Tidal: Definitely Young, Probably Promising.

With the pomp and circumstance befitting a hip-hop mogul, Jay-Z has unveiled Tidal to the world, and with it, a promise to heal all the ills of music streaming.

NEW YORK: Madonna, Rihanna, Beyonce and Jay Z are among the A-List musicians who are co-owners of Tidal, a streaming service being billed as the first artist-owned platform for music and video. With a $56-million purchase of a little-known Swedish streaming service (available in Canada since October, but grandly relaunched with a star-studded press event Monday), Jay-Z promises to offer a bigger cut to artists and higher quality audio files to the masses. With the product as-is, Spotify or Apple launching a lossless quality tier could make Tidal irrelevant– but for one major thing: superstar exclusives. The only catch is the same for all streaming services, record labels, download stores and even bricks and mortar stores: convincing people to pay for music once again. Right now, Jay Z’s very newly acquired Tidal (which launched in the U.S. in October) is essentially a barebones version of existing streaming services, plus a few interesting features that differentiate the service (and some newly added and exclusive content from its star-studded equity partners).

He just launched a music streaming service called Tidal with Beyoncé, Daft Punk, Kanye, Arcade Fire, and Rihanna as co-owners contributing exclusive content. Tidal enters an already saturated market — with the likes of Spotify, Rdio, Deezer, Google Music, Rhapsody, and many others, including the Apple’s upcoming product and YouTube Music Key — promising something different, but on first inspection seems conspicuously similar to the rest. For $19.99/month, users get “lossless high-fidelity sound quality, high definition music videos and expertly curated editorial.” For half the price, $9.99, users can stream the same content in it’s standard, compressed form. Jay-Z positions this as an artist-owned and run endeavour with 16 of the world’s biggest artists — including Coldplay, Arcade Fire, Daft Punk, Alicia Keys, Jack White and more — at the launch. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/31/business/media/jay-z-reveals-plans-for-tidal-a-streaming-music-service.html It’s well known that artists get paid a fraction of a cent for a stream — Spotify pays .06-. 08 for a song play — which Taylor Swift cited as the reason for her pulling her latest album from the streaming service last year.

The service comes with most of the bells and whistles we now expect from an on-demand subscription services: artist and track based radio, cached downloads for offline listening, music segmented by genre, a section for new music, themed playlists, and a way to favorite tracks, albums and artists. It’s easy enough to navigate and has a dark theme that at times looks strikingly similar to Spotify: Credits: Hidden away in a sub-menu that appears to only exist on the mobile app is one really awesome thing about Tidal: song credits. By selecting “Track Info,” songs reveal producer, lyricist, composer and engineer credits, where available, something missing from its competitors. Keys called the event “a graduation.” “So we come together before you on this day, March 30th, 2015, 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. Other than some cosmetic things, they generally also have the same features, offering a free, ad-supported tier and an all-you-can-listen subscription service that costs around $10 a month.

The only other streaming service with the same level of sound quality available is Deezer Elite, which currently is only compatible with Sonos speakers. There is incredible value for users, with access to millions of songs at your fingertips, but that hasn’t been enough for the vast majority of music fans worldwide. Videos appear as a separate vertical when looking at an artist’s page, but aren’t linked to within tracks, i.e. if I stream “Only One” the video does not automatically appear as an option to watch– it’s on a separate page. Editorial: Earlier today, Tidal displayed original editorial content in buckets at the top of the main vertical, featuring buzzy artists like Courtney Barnett and Natalie Prass and a playlist made by Screaming Females’ Marissa Paternoster.

Spotify has already paid more than a billion dollars to artists in royalties, so if artists do get a better rate from Tidal, it is really going to have to get as many paying users on it as possible to make a go of it. The home page now features custom content by the new equity partners like Beyonce’s “Festival Favorites” and a video of Jack and Meg White’s first recorded performance. Social: Tidal is designed for the solitary listener: there is no social layer (i.e. a “what my friends are listening to” stream or a in-app messaging system). Though Tidal, like Neil Young’s Pono Music Store, boasts of offering audio files of much higher quality than compressed MP3s, the truth is that many listeners cannot really tell the difference. And that “good enough” argument applies to the all of the free music options out there that many music listener make do with — another reason that success is far from guaranteed.

If i’m listening to a Rihanna song on my computer and I pause to open the app on my phone, it displays the last song I was listening to on mobile, NOT the Rihanna song). Jay-Z once rapped, “I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man.” His bravado likely helped fuel this move, but while it and Tidal might sound good at first, there’s a lot of background noise to filter out. As announced yesterday, Beyonce, Rihanna, Kanye West, Jack White, Arcade Fire, Usher, Nicki Minaj, Coldplay, Alicia Keys, Calvin Harris, Daft Punk, deadmau5, Jason Aldean, J.

As artist exclusives become the standard and catalog is fragmented between services, I may only be able to listen to new music from some, but not all, of music’s “one percent” through Jay Z’s Tidal.

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