Riding the TIDAL Wave

By: Dallas J. Short

It has been about eight weeks, since the mega star press conference that launched TIDAL and #TIDAL4ALL. “TIDAL is the first music service with high fidelity sound quality, high definition music videos and curated editorial, expertly crafted by music journalists.”

Since then, people have been already saying it’s a flop, it’s dying and hurling insults. My question, have these people actually used TIDAL or is it just fun to hate on Jay Z and wish that he finally fails at something? Seems a bit too early to be writing its tombstone. I signed up for the 30-day free trial after the launch and have recently started my paid subscription. There are a few things I would like to address about the TIDAL service.

Jay Z and TIDAL never declared war on Spotify or other subscription services. He previously stated “They don’t have to lose for me to win.” TIDAL, Spotify and others might seem similar, but there are differences.

The sound quality of TIDAL is better. For people complaining about TIDAL costing more, you can pay the same price as other subscriptions and receive the same quality. You are paying extra for the higher quality, which is extremely noticeable through good speakers. I grew up spending my allowance, lunch money and whatever money I could get on music, so paying $20 a month for the high quality version still seems like I won.

The curated playlists are more intriguing. From what inspired your favorite musician, to what your favorite athlete trains to, to what a veteran journalist has created in an audio time capsule. These are not songs randomly thrown together. I’m had playlists from Angie Martinez, Elliot Wilson and the Happy Birthday Stevie Wonder playlist on repeat. “Simply the Best” is the only thing I play at the gym.

The exclusive content, songs and videos. Taylor Swift, who has her music removed from other streaming services, is on TIDAL. Jack White streamed an intimate concert through TIDAL X. Prince, who is usually anti-industry, steamed his live concert in Baltimore. Rihanna, Beyonce and others have released music exclusively on TIDAL. There is behind the scenes of videos and tours. You can win passes to exclusive TIDAL subscriber only contests. (While working on this blog, I won tickets to a private Jay Z concert this weekend, where he will only be doing his B-Sides/less mainstream songs. That alone would cost more than my annual subscription. I created a Jay Z playlist titled “Not a Businessman.”)

TIDAL gives more royalties to the artists. Support the musicians you like, let them be able to continue to create the soundtrack for your life. Yes, I have mentioned the big names and that is what will bring most people in, but TIDAL is about the music and connecting you to the artist. There are independent and underground talent who deserve to make more money from streams.

“TIDAL Discovery is the place for the up and comer. The new kid on the block. The unsigned. The undiscovered. In partnership with PHONOFILE and Record Union, TIDAL Discovery is bringing you the new place to come together. Supported and encouraged by the biggest names in music. With TIDAL Discovery, unsigned artists can upload their original music using PHONOFILE or Record Union and be heard for the first time. The possibilities are endless.”

TIDAL Rising is a featured category below “What’s New” that emphasizes growing musicians. Users can browse by album or by track, check out Q&A’s and learn more about some of music’s more concealed talent. The roster changes and it is not locked in on one genre. TIDAL lists it as “A program dedicated to artists from around the globe who have passionate fan bases and are ready to broaden that base to a wider audience. TIDAL Rising was designed to help accelerate the exposure and give voice to tomorrow’s biggest names.”

TIDAL is not based on making the rich richer, so far, it has kept the fan and the music at the forefront. It is new, it will grow and it will make errors, just as other streaming services have. You have nothing to lose, but trying out a free subscription. I have yet to meet anyone who does not like it. I have heard people just not want to recreate their playlists from other services. TIDAL also have a way import your playlists.

I’m not a complete fanboy here. I am just a supporter of great music, hearing it as best I can, discovering new talent and artists being better compensated. Are you? Make your own decision about it.

Have you tried TIDAL yet? http://www.tidal.com

As always, I welcome your comments and if you like what you read, be social and share.

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