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Jay-Z’s Got 99 Problems & TIDAL’s One Of Them
By: Jennifer Graber
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When Jay and Bey embark on a musical venture, one expects it to be as epic as they are. Music royalty is bound to breed nothing but overnight success, right?

Enter the streaming service Tidal. Tidal is one of Jay-Z’s latest business projects. Tidal is an alliance of sorts — a musical alliance. Tidal is a paid subscription streaming service that “benefits both users and artists” by bringing them "closer together.”

The ad-free service works off of HiFi and provides “CD-quality music and video streaming” with “extensive curated editorial expertise.” Users can access the 25 million plus songs and 75,000 music videos via computer or mobile device. Users also are privy to exclusive content and material from recording artists, giving them a taste of the V.I.P. status.

All of these seemingly great features provide the illusion that it has been all sunshine and roses for Tidal. There is also the illusion that Jay-Z’s powerhouse status will automatically turn anything he touches into gold. However, that is not necessarily the case.

Many naysayers of Tidal have proclaimed that the service is not exactly bringing together and benefiting artists, as it so claims. For instance, the launch of Tidal brought together some high-profile names. Do the names Madonna, Usher, Nicki Minaj, or Deadmau5 ring a bell? These are only SOME of the musical artists Jay-Z brought to debut his new streaming service.

It sounds strategic, right? What could be smarter than bringing together high-profile artists that people are paying attention to? Pretty much ensures a large audience, doesn’t it? Perhaps that is the case. However, Tidal critics claim that the move “undermines” what the service is trying to do. Tidal professes itself to be a service that respects all artists and looks out for all artists — even the little guys. But the message is coming across as murky if the artists promoting the product are already making the big bucks.

Furthermore, Tidal critics say that the service is missing out on a strategic opportunity by not promoting with indie artists or those just getting their start. The critics believe using those artists instead will provide a sense of relatability to the target audience — a.k.a., people not making millions of dollars. The service is striving to band together artists to bring back a sense of value and worth to their art form — a noble cause. But having multi-millionaires promote that cause breaks it down just a bit, or has the potential to.

Tidal has set the bar high, and by some standards has failed. And Jay-Z, for one, is not exactly thrilled about the critics. In fact, he took to Twitter to go on a rant and defend his venture. The rap mogul used his Twitter to proclaim that Tidal was “doing just fine” and success doesn’t happen overnight. He even went on to say that “many big companies” are “spending millions on a smear campaign.” The mogul says Tidal is nothing but supportive of all kinds of artists and plans on giving all artists their fair share (75%) of royalties — not just the founding members. And the artists own all their content — NOT the company itself. Jay-Z urges everyone to just give Tidal an adequate chance. He doesn’t take too kindly to people attacking his business — in fact, he gets downright sassy.

Tidal leadership has high hopes for the future of the streaming service. The company has plans for global expansion and further development of its quality and content. Time will be the service’s true testament.

Has anyone tried out the service yet? Or has anyone made the switch from another service? Thoughts?

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About the Author
Jennifer Graber is a Business Development Manager and marketing enthusiast. Her specific interests include branding, consumer behavior, development, integrated marketing communications, and new & social media.
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