As far as inceptions for high fidelity music streaming services go, the launch of Jay Z’s pet project Tidal has been pretty messy.
The service was bought by the media mogul in March, with a public campaign including a high profile press conference and a hashtag, #TidalforAll- Complete with matching profile photos for each of the celebrity endorsers.
While the images of our celebrity saviors certainly produce an image of majesty and grandeur, reactions have been at best bemused about the service and at worst, downright vicious. Here’s a choice interview excerpt from Marina and the Diamond’s Marina Diamantis:
Hello. I was interviewed about Tidal Yesterday. pic.twitter.com/FJxCN3CbYP
— Marina Diamandis (@MarinasDiamonds) April 1, 2015
Certainly, while there may have been plenty of vaguely revolutionary talk at the conference, including the statement that Tidal is an example of a “great movement [that] started with a group of people being able to get together and really just make a stand,” little has been said about what differentiates Tidal from Spotify.
While Spotify has received plenty of criticism for the ways it pays its artists, (most memorably from Taylor Swift), Tidal’s specs about how it will pay musicians has been notably uncertain. It justifies its high price tag ($10 for standard service, $20 for the full package with the promise of high-fidelity music, only included with the $20 a month package).
The point about high-fidelity music is probably the key signifier of how far out of touch the Tidal Team are with their fanbase. High-fidelity music means the songs will have a bitrate of 1411 kps, which is hardly sought after by anyone but the most dedicated (and affluent) audiophiles. Equipment used to be able to listen to high fidelity music usually costs within the hundreds of dollars, proving Marina’s point that Tidal’s ‘all’ is hardly inclusive.