April 23, 2015


The Week in Tidal: Bey-Z's Joint Album, Bad PR, Kanye Weirdness & More

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for adidas
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for adidas

Welcome to the Week in Tidal, a new feature we'll run as long as Jay Z's half-exciting, all-troubled streaming service keeps making waves. So…this could be our first and last Week in Tidal. We'll see!

Let's kick things off with the newest and hottest Tidal headline: Jay Z and Beyoncé's rumored full-length collaboration might be Tidal-only: Fuse host DJ SKEE says in a new SKEE TV clip: 

"I first reported last year that Jay Z and Beyoncé were working on a joint album—which, by the way, is finally nearing completion. And now my sources are saying it will be released exclusively on Tidal. The risk here is the same thing that happened with Jay Z's exclusive album with Samsung, a project that leaked as Samsung's servers crashed, unintentionally making it ironically only available to people who illegally downloaded it. History has shown if you make something closed in, people will always find a way around it."

That would make sense. While Tidal's exclusives have been lackluster or flown under the radar largely, the biggies have come straight from the Roc circle: an unreleased video of Hov rehearsing the Blue Ivy ode "Glory" before his big Carnegie Hall orchestra show; Rihanna's "American Oxygen"; Beyoncé's brand new song "Die With You," revealed in home movie format. See the clip from Fuse's SKEE TV here (and don't miss SKEE TV on Fuse tonight at 10:30/9:30c, featuring special guest Tech N9ne):

One internet philosopher weighed in on the matter, too, making not just a nod to the inevitable result if this operation goes down, but to the fact that Rih's "American Oxygen" was a "Tidal exclusive" for, like, only two days tops:

Jay Z, Jack White, and other unnamed music vets have been personally calling random Tidal users to say thanks. Great PR move for a company getting slammed with bad, ambivalent, skeptical press from the likes of Death Cab for Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard, Lily AllenMarina & the Diamonds and Mumford & Sons. Here's one imagining of that telephone scenario:

In hard popularity numbers news, Tidal dropped out of Apple's top 750—750!—apps on Monday. Apparently it peaked at No. 83 on April 7, a week after the big celebrity-stacked coming-out-party press conference. Meanwhile Spotify sits at No. 4 while Pandora (Pan-fucking-dora!?) rides high at No. 3. Man. Pandora.

As we know, lots of celebrities made their avatars a neon blue square to support Tidal, including Jay Z's lil bro Kanye West. While lots of those artists (Nicki Minaj excluded) have nixed their Tidal avis, Kanye also got rid of his…and went a little further by deleting his several supportive tweets. Once word about this started getting out, 'Ye threw a wee-hours tweet linking to Tidal's site and stating another one of those vague, manifest destiny–style Tidal lines: "The love of music is louder than words." Okay.

Meanwhile, folks are wondering if Kanye might make So Help Me God a Tidal-exclusive, too—and if that would be effective:

Tidal's CEO, Andy Chen, left the company along with 25 employee layoffs. That's a good look! Here, though, let an Official Tidal Statement try to stop your giggles with his appraisal of new interim CEO Peter Tonstad:

"[Tonstad] has a better understanding of the industry and a clear vision for how the company is looking to change the status quo. He's streamlining resources to ensure talent is maximized to enhance the customer experience. We've eliminated a handful of positions and refocused our company-wide talent to address departments that need support and cut redundancies."

Not all unsubscribing parties are rooting against Tidal:

On the other end, a prevalent Tidal skeptic viewpoint, nicely put:

A little fan-fic:

And a little Jay Z lyric revisionism in Tidal's sloppy, choppy wake:

Sir Mix-a-Lot spoke with Complex yesterday and housed Hov and Tidal fairly concisely:

I’m a big Jay Z fan, but I want to know per million streams how much you’re paying out. He’s charging double Spotify. Honestly, I just want to see young artists get paid.

A thought-provoking take brings social media history into the fold:

As does another:

More in Kanye's personal Week in Tidal: Yeezus wrote a long essay for his Paper cover story. In it, he SAID:

"I heard a comment—a joke—about the Tidal press conference being an Illuminati moment. If there was actually an Illuminati, it would be more like the energy companies. Not celebrities that gave their life to music and who are pinpointed as decoys for people who really run the world. I'm tired of people pinpointing musicians as the Illuminati. That's ridiculous. We don't run anything; we're celebrities. We're the face of brands. We have to compromise what we say in lyrics so we don't lose money on a contract."

And this one might not be about "Tidal" but it also might be?