Water Is Not Free:The Trouble With (and/or great potential of) TIDAL

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Today, a group of multimillionaires with diverse revenue streams came together to announce ownership of a music streaming service which  will change the industry in a way that hopes to empower artists. The service is supposed to sound really, really good. Oh, and there will be videos. Oh, and while they’re at it, they’re gonna throw in the one thing that can change the industry forever.  But don’t worry about that.  Look! Celebrities! It’s all about the music!

TIDAL is an artist majority owned company with a mission to reestablish the value of music and protect the sustainability of the music industry rooted in creativity and expression.

As part of TIDAL’s vision to introduce change to the current system, they are promising to  expand the platform into an “all-encompassing destination” in the coming months. Part of this “expansion” is what I believe the real value in TIDAL is, and as with many things where  music and technology meet, it’s being missed.

TIDAL believes it is revolutionizing the business by challenging players like Spotify and iTunes, but in my view, that’s a short-sighted mission.

Somewhere, someone just heard Bob Marley’s “Legend” for the first time. And their world is forever changed. “Legend” is owned by Universal Music. Island Def Jam,  I believe. Bob’s not recording any new music, so this artist ownership model doesn’t help the music lover with their debit card out, or the Marley Estate.

Catalog is a very important part of the business of the music business. There are a hundred albums mixed and produced to sound LIKE Stevie Wonder’s “Songs In The Key of Life”, but Motown (again, Universal) owns that record. So if Universal decides not to work with TIDAL or Spotify,  etc…then the music is gone. So where’s the value for my $19.99 (or $9.99, for that matter)? TIDAL claims to have tens of thousands of titles from major labels. So I’m sure there are some great  new albums from hot  artists to listen to. But THEN what?

Another REALLY disturbing thing I missed at the event? Independent artists. Am I paying $20 a month for artists I already know?  READ MORE

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