Waves of Criticism Continue to Plague Tidal Streaming

Photo Courtesy of Project Panther Ltd.

The music-streaming platform Tidal has made waves recently, as superstar performers like Kanye West and Rihanna have released their latest albums exclusively through the online music streaming service. The platform includes over 25 million tracks and 75,000 music videos. The streaming platform claims to pay the highest percentage of payments to musical artists and songwriters in the market.

Tidal was first launched in October 2014 in the U.K., U.S. and Canada. In 2015, after Tidal had spread to several other countries, it was purchased by Project Panther Ltd., a company owned by famous rap artist Jay Z for $56.2 million. Jay Z stated in an interview with ​Billboard​ that in order for his vision to be executed, he would be open to partnering with other streaming services:

"We talked to every single service and we explored all the options," said Jay Z, "But at the end of the day, we figured if we're going to shape this thing the way we see it, then we need to have independence. And that became a better proposition for us, not an easier one, mind you," he continued.

Today, the Roc Nation CEO still has ownership of Tidal, along with other artists, making Tidal the first ever artist­-owned streaming service in the world. During Jay Z’s relaunch of Tidal, artists started to use hashtags on their social media accounts like, "Turn the tide" and "#TIDALforAll" to spread the word.

During the press conference that marked the relaunching of the service, all of the artists that own Tidal were announced. These artists include ​Beyoncé​, ​Rihanna​, ​Kanye West​, Nicki Minaj​, ​Daft Punk​, ​Jack White​, ​Madonna​, ​Arcade Fire​, ​Alicia Keys​, ​Usher​, ​Chris Martin​, ​Calvin Harris​, ​deadmau5​, ​Jason Aldean​, J. Cole and, of course, Jay-Z.

While the professed ideals of Tidal have been deemed admirable by pundits, the streaming platform has received a lot of criticism due to the unreasonable pricing. In the United States, a monthly subscription to Tidal costs $9.99 per month or $19.99 per month for the higher quality option (“Hi­Fi”). Several Ramapo students think that the Tidal subscription prices are unrealistically high.

“There’s no way I would spend that amount for a Tidal subscription. I will just stick to my Spotify and Pandora accounts”, said junior Ebony Saxton.

Others have not been scared away by the cost of the service, and were willing to pay the monthly cost of the expanding streaming service.

“I subscribed to Tidal because I wanted to listen to Kanye’s new album. I listen to his album almost every day because it’s so catchy and really upbeat”, said Bintou Berete, a junior.

Currently, the Tidal streaming service has the exclusive streaming rights to Kanye West’s newest album, “The Life of Pablo.” ​Before West’s decision to make his album available only to Tidal subscribers, Tidal was losing popularity. However, with West’s album release, which came shortly after Rihanna’s exclusive Tidal release, the streaming platform is regaining its lost support.