Remember Tidal? Jay Z’s high-quality music streaming service?
It hasn’t gone anywhere, per se, besides swan-diving out of App Store rankings and everyone’s collective consciousness. But it still exists, sort of.
“None of the artists knew anything about the PR,” he said. “It was a poorly managed launch, but conceptually the thing that we liked about Tidal was that it’s HD streaming quality.”
He went on to mildly defend the company, blaming record labels instead of Tidal’s own blistering arrogance:
They dictated that Tidal has to cost $20. The major label music industry has completely ruined every aspect of their business. At every step of the way they’ve had the tools offered to them to create an industry that works, and they’ve completely blown it. That’s why we never had any interest in signing a contract with one of these companies because they’re clearly completely clueless.
Okay, fine, nobody is defending the wisdom of the record business. But using “the industry” as a straw man is foolish because Tidal made it quite clear from Day 1: the $20 price tag was a revolutionary act of supporting real artistry and high-fidelity audio, Spotify is pure evil, blah blah blah.
Sadly for Win Butler and Jay Z, though, nobody is buying it — literally.
In an informal Billboard poll of music industry insiders, 71 percent of respondents predicted that Tidal would not survive the next year.
That sounds a bit harsh. But, ever eager to shoot itself in the foot, Tidal doubled down on its own idiocy by announcing earlier this week that it will be selling CDs — yes, physical compact discs — of Prince’s new album. One copy will set you back $25, including shipping and handling.
A digital streaming platform selling a $25 CD in 2015 is everything Tidal actually represents: hubris.
We are human (even Daft Punk ha). We aren't perfect – but we are determined. #TidalFacts
— Mr. Carter (@S_C_) April 26, 2015
“Determined” is one way to put it. “Woefully misguided” works, too.
The revolution may not be televised, but it sure as hell won’t be available on compact disc.