Jay Z’s Tidal Adds New Artist Feature, Still Doomed


On the heels of a widespread fire of criticism, Jay-Z’s new high quality streaming service Tidal has gone on something of an offensive, introducing a new feature aimed to help upcoming artists and issuing a press release in its defense.

Tidal launched last month, with the likes of Kanye West, Madonna, Beyoncé, Rihanna, Arcade Fire, Jack White, Daft Punk and more all attending the launch and signing an official Tidal charter. However, charging people $20 a month for good sound and non-exclusive HD music videos about two decades after the world stopped giving them a central marquee is an unsustainable demand of a public with a wide range of choices and existing Spotify loyalties. The service isalso  painfully flawed in both search functionality and streaming capability.

Tidal: The Musical Titanic, Packed With Stars

A recently issued press release announces an updated app with a new Tidal Rising function. “Tidal gives voice to tomorrow’s biggest names through TIDAL RISING, a program dedicated to promoting emerging and independent artists from around the world. Every week, nascent talent in any genre will emerge,” the statement reads.

Lily Allen was one of the early critics of Tidal, offering a sensible argument: “I love Jay Z so much, but Tidal is [so] expensive compared to other perfectly good streaming services… He’s taken the biggest artists & made them exclusive to Tidal… people are going to swarm back to pirate sites in droves sending traffic to torrent sites.”

Producer legend Steve Albini has laughed off the idea of Tidal, saying services like it are “deluding themselves”.

“The internet provides access to materials and things,” he continued. “Creating these little streaming fiefdoms where certain streaming services have certain artists and certain streaming services have other artists is a crippled use of the internet. If the internet has demonstrated anything over the years, it’s that it has a way of breaking limitations placed on its content.”

The folk-hipster movement isn’t exactly leaping into the Tidal mix, either. Mumford & Sons recently said that they “wouldn’t have joined” Tidal “even if they had asked,” due its bias towards popular artists.

Death Cab For Cutie’s Ben Gibbard weighed in as well, describing the Tidal launch as “millionaires complaining about not being paid.” 

He said: “If I had been Jay Z, I would have brought out 10 artists that were underground or independent and said, ‘These are the people who are struggling to make a living in today’s music industry. Whereas this competitor streaming site pays this person 15 cents for X amount of streams, that same amount of streams on my site, on Tidal, will pay that artist this much.’ I think 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.”

Read more of our in-depth take on the ill-advised money machine that is Tidal right here.