Welcome back to the Week in Tidal, a feature we're running as long as Jay Z's half-exciting, all-troubled streaming service keeps making #waves. Last time we looked at the service's poor performance in the Apple App Store, staff turnover and layoffs, and rumors about a Jay/Beyoncé joint album heading straight to Tidal.
Wednesday morning, Tidal made the following announcement:
Jay brought back the Reasonable Doubt–era umlaut and the dash before the Z for a reason: He's playing oldies, rarities and stuff he's never done live. For an opportunity to win tickets, fans have to share a playlist that will be judged on genre/artist diversity as well as sequencing. They've also gotta post it on Twitter with the hashtag #TIDALxJayZ through the app's sharing tool. Hoops on hoops on hoops.
No word on the venue yet, but there'll only be 1,100 winners (two tickets per winner), so we can expect something relatively intimate. (At least compared to Hov's usual stadium gigs.)
Imaginary Times Square scenario that would make our day and crush our heart:
"Yo homie, do you like hiphop?" *avoids eye contact while passing Jay Z holding a Tidal clipboard*— Desus Nice (@desusnice) April 29, 2015
The biggest recent #tsunami was Jay Z's "stream of consciousness" Sunday tweet-spree. Here's the full, unedited text, except where we've removed the nine instances of a #TidalFacts hashtag:
"Tidal is doing just fine. We have over 770,000 subs. We have been in business less than one month. The iTunes Store wasn't built in a day. It took Spotify 9 years to be successful… We are here for the long haul. Please give us a chance to grow & get better. There are many big companies that are spending millions on a smear campaign. We are not anti-anyone, we are pro-artist & fan. We made Tidal for fans. We have more than just music. We have video, exclusive concerts, tickets for events early, live sports!... ….Tidal is where artists can give their fans more without the middlemen. Indie artists who want to work directly w/ us keep 100% of their music. "If you don't want the CEOs all in the videos" haa
Tidal pays 75% royalty rate to ALL artists, writers and producers - not just the founding members on stage. Rich getting richer? Equity values... YouTube $390 billion. Apple $760 billion. Spotify $8 billion. Tidal $60 million. My cousin just moved to Nigeria to discover new talent. Tidal is a global company. We have Tidal X - it supports artists by giving them a platform to connect with their most loyal fans. Tidal is for all. Our actions will speak louder than words. We made Tidal to bring people the best experiences...and to help artists give that to their fans over and over again…
And the coup de grace:
We are human (even Daft Punk ha). We aren't perfect - but we are determined. #TidalFacts— Mr. Carter (@S_C_) April 26, 2015
Those industrious blogpeeps at Time fact-checked all Mr. Carter's #TidalFacts, found some of them factual, others not so much. Others spent time cooking up visual interpretations of the between-the-lines messages buried in Jay's #facts:
Tidal's got an exclusive Willow Smith song called "F Q-C #7." It's cool, sounds like Willow's been hanging out with Tune-Yards, but it's only 1:59 long and it has that title. Bonus, though: Lil Willy Style produced it herself! Honestly it's worth signing up just to support the best Smith.
Looks like the #Grooveshark couldn't swim in the Tidal wave. (Okay I'm done)— donwill.me (@donwill) May 1, 2015
"Mad respect for tidal!! I literally know musicians who live in cars and storage spaces etc. And I know some pretty popular musicians who still struggle to make ends meet. Unless artists have a popular live show there aren’t a lot of income streams available. People have characterized tidal negatively but I promise it’s 100% artist friendly, and fan friendly since yall have the option to pay the same rate as other streaming respect to everyone involved for doing the right thing for struggling artists – this kind of thing is so important, especially for indie music! PS I AM SIGNED TO 4AD!! The misconception that I am not an independent artist anymore is incorrect, i can speak as an independent artist here. Roc nation manages me, I’m not signed to them nor do I have any investment in tidal, nor did anyone ask me to say this. Ps to everyone who buys music respect! Glad to hear many of u buy music rather than stream which is the best way to support smaller artists! ^_^ and also, for those who can’t afford streaming or buying music, I do not judge anyone for that! This is a suggestion, not a demand, in sorry it has created so much anger amongst yall"
But you can still be a 150K-Twitter-followers artist in this world and not know what Tidal is:
My song trippin is on tidal. What is Tidal?— Christina Rome (@ImChristinaRome) May 1, 2015
"I get the concept of artists taking their shit instead of having that weird middle man. But because he got all of the biggest names in the world, it came off as weird. I think that's why people were turned off. He gotta get an underdog in there that's not all No. 1s to say, 'Hey guys, I'm kind of one of you, this is actually kinda cool.' That's all they gotta do, because the idea makes sense."
HITS Daily Double had a pretty dire analysis of Tidal's trajectory, including hard, sorry numbers about Rihanna's "American Oxygen," which debuted as a Tidal exclusive before going wide, and the daily stream count:
Jay Z’s Tidal has opted to ignore the new-artist sector in favor of superstars, and the strategy is not working. For example, it’s believed that Tidal’s total streams average around 1 [million] a day, while individual tracks on Spotify regularly hit that number. Tidal’s top-heavy branding approach, with its emphasis on these older, established acts, simply doesn’t have the currency that Apple has maintained by prioritizing newer acts, having discerned early on that the discovery process is part of the cool factor. How is it that the world’s richest corporation has managed to retain its coolness while Tidal seems to have missed the boat? Not only have the initial Tidal exclusives failed to move the needle, the Rihanna video exclusive on “American Oxygen” appears to have actually hurt the launch of the song, which sold only 19k in its first four days. Deepening the irony, Jay’s Roc Nation is both her label and her manager. Thus far, Tidal is seen by most observers as a big miss.
What if Kanye's album has been on Tidal all this time?— Myles Brown (@mdotbrown) April 30, 2015
My man Amos Barshad at Grantland did a thought experiment titled What Other Cool Stuff Can We Extort From an Increasingly Desperate Jay Z in Exchange for a Tidal Subscription?
J. Cole and Jack White each did intimate concerts that were streamed exclusively on Tidal this week. Since it's Tidal, you really can't see those videos here, and we're sorry. A lot of tweetfolk were saying the Cole show looked spectacular. I use Tidal—in a work-related, Week in Tidal–centric, experimental, curious, somewhat enthusiastic fashion—but didn't get to tune in for Cole. I fell asleep before his music could put me to sleep. (Kidding!) (As long as we're only talking about the mixtapes!) Anyway. Pix:
Is it too late for Matt Weiner to change the whole ending to Mad Men, even though we're only two weeks away?
"Mad Men" should end with Pete Campbell landing the Tidal account.— Louis Virtel (@louisvirtel) April 27, 2015
Word hit that prices were going up from $9.99 to $12.99 for Tidal Premium and $19.99 to $25.99 for Tidal HiFi. It's true—but only on mobile, apparently? Roc Nation told Fader that “the price of the subscription through the mobile app is directly related to markups regulated in Apple’s App Store, but that the subscription prices still remain the same on Tidal’s main site.”
This week saw the launch of Tidal Discovery, which joins the already confusing Tidal Rising and Tidal X to form what the Hollywood Reporter calls "the company's three-pronged initiative to give struggling artists a leg-up that no other streaming platform offers." That description comes from a longish piece where THR had chief investment officer Vania Schlogel basically annotate Jay's "off the cuff" tweet sesh and verify its authenticity. "It was genuinely not something two weeks before that was like, 'Hey, why don’t we plan this out and vet the shit out of it?'" Schlogel says. "It wasn’t like that at all." There's also a lot of vague stuff about showing love to newcomers "in a more holistic way." Also, on young artists: "If their voices aren’t in positive support of this, then we have failed. I genuinely mean that."
Tip: Saying "genuine" several times in the span of a brief conversation can give the impression one is not necessarily being "genuine."
Tidal jokes are becoming real stale real fast, so enjoy these fake facts while you can (actually, this account might have thrown in the towel before it could get old):
Tidal is the only place where you will be able to stream Slipknot's cover of Uptown Funk. #TidalFacts— #TidalFacts (@FakeTIDALFacts) April 28, 2015
Taylor Swift is hosting her song about breaking up with Spotify as a Tidal exclusive. #TidalFacts— #TidalFacts (@FakeTIDALFacts) April 27, 2015
Dr. Dre's Detox will be exclusively streamed on Tidal in 2090. #TidalFacts— #TidalFacts (@FakeTIDALFacts) April 26, 2015
Lastly, my coworker Jeff Benjamin realized he had signed up for Tidal a year ago (intrigued by the promise of higher quality audio) and completely forgotten that the service existed until the Jay Z & Friends hubbub started up. That's how good Tidal is.
Pushaz Inc The Label/Def Jam Records
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