I won’t beat around the bush here. I’m not too keen on exclusive releases on Tidal. I’ve been a paying member of Spotify for over 3 years now. With the eclectic selection of music that I have I would be broke if I purchased music based on my varying moods throughout the day. This does not mean I don’t buy music any more. I was minutes away from buying TLOP (The Life of Pablo) Kanye’s newest album until I saw this…..


I’m sorry Mr. West I’m not subscribing to Tidal and I’ve used my free trial when I wanted to see Nicki Minaj’s new video for Feeling Myself (sorry world).. As mentioned I’ve days of music curated into playlists on Spotify. It feels like an extension of me it knows my tastes it gives me new music weekly based on this and I also have my local catalog of music integrated into the app.

Tidal are a platform “made for artists and by artists“. The recent release of TLOP show’s that they may be honouring the artist a bit to much and neglecting the fans, the people who are at fault for using services which don’t pay the artists enough royalties due to their choice in alternative streaming choices/piracy. /s

So what happened?

Well looking at the tweet above Kanye held off on selling his album for another week and is now trying to coerce users into Tidal for this premium content. This would be fine in some senses, but what about when they aren’t even doing a good job on refunding their fans. Yes let’s do one of the most anticipated albums of the year exclusively on our platform then pull it, then not refund our hopefully new users in a timely fashion.

 


TLOP has been a hugely anticipated release, shooting searches for Kanye and Tidal up in Google Trends

Tidal Kanye Album

and has also successfully rocketed Tidal into the top of the iTunes global charts

Tidal Kanye Album

So why the hell did they decide the day of release too just pull album sales? Surely they could have created this plan months in advance letting people know rather than trying to force people who purchased the album legally to then sign up for a service that they’re still waiting on a refund from?

I could be going off on one here Tidal definitely pays more per play than other options. An artist will usually see $0.07 per play in comparison to Spotifys $0.0011 Source. That’s great for musicians but encourages the age old debate what’s better exposure or revenue through music streams. Kanye’s revenue on his top 5 Spotify tracks would have earned him just shy of $1million but that’s amounting to over 800 million streams. Now for Kanye to make this same revenue on Tidal it would involve him to get over 128million streams on a service that only has 1 million users….. Crazy right?

Tidal is a business after all and Kanye isn’t doing this because Tidal pays him better he’s heavily invested in it like so many other big artists. The problem is though Tidal is restricting music with these exclusive releases. Music revenue has reportedly dropped below $15 billion for the first time in decades! What was there reasoning? Piracy. The rise of piracy obviously came through the fact that music wasn’t easily available online apart from on torrent sites. It was still heavily focused on CD sales. People wanted an alternative. Services like Spotify, Rhapsody and Google Play music filled this gap. People were less likely to pirate music for the ease of access and the free streaming alternative. Now Tidal are once again restricting music.

What am I really getting at here? My problem is I’ve grown used to music streaming. I’m an avid music fan and I consume hours of music daily. I can’t and probably never could afford to pay for all the music I choose to listen to on a daily basis. To be fair if the internet didn’t exist though I probably wouldn’t even know about some of these artists! Welcome to the 21st century. Tidal are restricting something that has become normal in today’s culture and aren’t handling it very well they don’t have a solid plan and are making moves that are trying to benefit the company and the artist but in a way that restricts the fans.

We live in a world where people are being replaced by self checkouts and bank tellers are only used for people who are afraid of ATM’s and online banking. Music isn’t the first industry to be affected by technology and change in consumer demands. It isn’t going to change anytime soon. It’s adapt or become obsolete. I know this sucks but it sucks for all the other people who have lost income due to the advance of technology. I can’t see Tidal lasting very long and I’d give it a happy good riddance if they didn’t.

Please, wake up Mr. West.