Streaming music has become very popular these days and has revolutionized the music industry. It all started in 2005 when YouTube, a video site, came along. YouTube allowed the public to watch and listen to music videos uploaded by artists.
Since then, countless other music streaming services were launched to compete with services where you buy music like iTunes.
The most popular include Pandora, Spotify, Beats Music and SoundCloud. These services allow the public to listen to songs for free (funded by advertising) or for a monthly fee.
But there is a catch. Lesser-known artists get paid very little when someone listens to a song; their royalty is usually much less than one cent each time the song is played.
Musicians spend most of their time producing this music, but they clearly are not getting the money they deserve. For most musicians, this revenue is not enough for basic needs.
Some extremely popular artists have good contracts and make several million dollars from streaming each year, because their songs are streamed many more millions of times and record labels ultimately make most of the cash.
Music streaming services do allow new artists to get their music out into the wild, but it also makes it hard for them to make money. But a new music streaming service called Tidal hope to improve the situation for musicians.
Tidal, a project started by Jay-Z, recently launched as a new music streaming service. Along with Jay-Z, other successful (and well-paid) artists like Kanye West, Beyoncé, Rihanna, Alicia Keys, Madonna and Daft Punk are on board.
Naturally, the prominent position of these artists caused a lot of hype around the launch. The artists hoped to convince their fans to subscribe to this new venture.
On March 30, 2015, Tidal was launched in 31 countries. According to Keys, Tidal was created with the intention to “forever change the course of the music industry.”
A month after Tidal was launched it was considered a flop. Tidal lost many of the few users it had and got a lot of bad publicity. Customers said that the Tidal app was lousy and poorly built, while the media attacked the premise of the service.
Not a lot of sympathy went out to the millionaire musicians behind the project. As the face of Tidal, these sucessful artists did not exactly convey the ‘starving musician’ narrative that Tidal hoped to acheive.
This goes to show that it does not always matter how famous the spokesperson or people are for a certain product. What matters is how well the product caters to the public’s needs or wants.
According to the New York Times writer Ben Sisario, “Music and technology executives say that it is far too early to judge Tidal, particularly given the specter looming over all music apps this year: the expected arrival of Apple’s new streaming service, perhaps as early as June.”
Regardless, Tidal has responded. As Jay Z tweeted “We are here for the long haul,” he wrote. “Please give us a chance to grow & get better.” It has been only a month, so we will see whether Tidal can remain viable in the future.
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