Just what we were all desperately waiting for – a new music streaming service. If you have had enough of the others, there is now one more to try. Tidal is a music subscription service for audio and video files. The focus is apparently on sound quality. It also promises exclusive songs and videos from artists. Backed by 16 musical artists, including Jay Z, the service launched a few weeks ago to much fanfare.
Initial reception, however, has been somewhat frosty. Most of the criticism revolves around Tidal’s business model. There is no free plan, only two paid tiers – $9.99 and $19.99. This makes it difficult to compete with the other competitors like Spotify who offer free services. Also, the launch was viewed by many as an attempt by artists to grab more money from the consumer.
I wanted to get the opinion of an actual artist and music lover (besides myself) instead of just listening to critics. What do critics know anyway? So, I reached out to Nicolay, from the critically acclaimed group The Foreign Exchange. I asked him what his thoughts were on Tidal. “The large majority of fans of the artists that were on that stage when Tidal launched don’t really care about sound quality”, says Nicolay. “They play music from their phones, iPads, computer speakers, Bluetooth boxes, etc. At the same time, the large majority of music listeners that care about sound quality (aka “audiophiles”) are not a fan of the artists on that stage.” Did he think there was marketplace out there for lossless streaming? “Perhaps, but either way it would be a niche thing the way that Neil Young’s Pono player is a niche thing. At least in the near term.”
It looks like we will have to wait to see how this all actually plays out. In the meantime, I think I might just continue to stream my free Spotify radio.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Derrick Pryce (known as Cantaloupe at Tunefruit) is a music producer and keyboard player based in Atlanta, GA. His current release is entitled Kebomusic Presents: The Experience, which is available on iTunes and Amazon. In addition to music, he is very much interested in technology, entrepreneurship and venture capital. He thinks mixing them all up would be fantastic. For more information, check out www.kebomusic.com.