I've Switched My Stance On Tidal... Sort of
So this is a first for me! I have been writing long enough now where I write an article one day, live my life and learn new things, see new perspectives etc.
And then there comes a day where my opinion on a certain topic changes. Ladies & Gentlemen! I'm happy to say that I have arrived at this moment for the first time as it pertains to something I have written before.
The piece in question is from nearly two years ago. Where I wrote about Music Streaming Service, Tidal (And Jay-Z, but mostly Tidal.) and why, as a Hip-Hop fan and consumer of music in general I found Tidal to be elitist. I hope you have clicked the link above and have read the whole thing, but just to recap, I said that I don't like the exclusivity aspect of Tidal. The fact that it's the only place to listen to the entirety of Jay's catalogue is something that jars me from a principal standpoint.
My comparison for this was gaming. For those that aren't interested in games, it's customary for consoles to battle by paying the creators of flagship games to give them exclusive rights so the game is only on one console and not on the competitors'. This affects the decision of the consumer as to what console to buy, if they like that game, they'll need to cop that console. Same thing with Tidal, if you want to listen to Jay, you need that Tidal subscription.
So what have I changed my mind on? Well, as you have gathered in the title, I'm not doing a complete 180 on Tidal. But I am beginning to understand and accept the business method. In the years since I wrote the original article I have interviewed artists, keeping up on how the culture is changing & I am beginning to see how much artists are really getting stiffed as it pertains to Streaming and money.
It's well known that Tidal is 2nd in paying artists. Napster is 1st but they don't actually make a profit, losing $7.00 per user. And with the recent passing of Nipsey Hussle, a talisman for physical sales in a Digital Age, it's really got me thinking.
Yes, I am a consumer of music like everybody else, I would love it if I got music for free, duh right? But understand that Streaming isn't benefiting artists monetarily like previous methods of consuming music were. I saw a tweet recently where someone asked Children of Zeus why are they constantly touring. The answer was simple:
We need to collectively understand that artists need to seriously switch up their business models in order to make profits from their art. Dropping an album doesn't cut it anymore, hence why touring is paramount and merchandise takes more precedent.
Back to Tidal. With all this in mind, I understand why Jay has done this. It's a really smart business move in the long run. There's also a cultural element here where you can't help but respect how Jay is trying to get a piece of the pie that only nameless suits have. Name a higher up at Spotify... Exactly! When you get into 0.0000 cents on the dollar, every little helps and every play is important. While I still don't like the exclusivity side of Tidal, I am now more accepting and understanding towards it. Who knows! There might come a time where I might migrate to Tidal...