Just like the rest of you, I sat by my computer yesterday, anxiously awaiting the “game changing” announcement from Jay Z we’d been hearing so much about. Everywhere we looked, we saw “Tidal” this, and “Tidal” that, but really, most of us had no idea what the hell Tidal actually was. We didn’t know the details. We didn’t know what it meant for the future of music, our favorite artists, and to be honest, most of us still aren’t really all that clear. But what HAS become painfully clear now that the dust has settled, and we’re all well in to the morning after, is one thing: We are so f*cking entitled.
As I read online reviews, think pieces, and angry tweets, I can’t help but wonder what the hell all the fuss is about. In case you missed it:
Tidal is the first music streaming service that combines the best High Fidelity sound quality, High Definition music videos and expertly Curated Editorial. They currently have two memberships: $9.99 a month for standard quality sound, or $19.99 a month for “lossless high-fidelity sound.” As of now, Tidal has 16 artist stakeholders, and they have been granted 3% equity. The other shares go to Jay, investors, and the record labels who were involved.
Now that that’s out of the way:
Let’s take a ride. Let’s travel a few years back in time. To ohhh…I don’t know…when we had a little something called cassettes…CD’s. RECORDS. Remember that? Remember that feeling we got when we FINALLY got our hands on a new cassette or CD? It felt like Christmas unwrapping those bad boys. The CD’s even came with a little insert we could read. That was dope. That was a great feeling. For some reason, we didn’t complain.
Now, in 2015, thanks to technology, all of that has changed. Has it changed for the better? Maybe in some ways. But in many ways, we have to admit, technology has really taken the fun out of a lot of things.
Here’s an excerpt from Spotify’s website:
Over the past few decades, this simple standard has fragmented into a diversity of consumption activities, from piracy and iTunes downloading to on-demand streaming from YouTube and others. Unfortunately, the majority of music consumption today generates little to no money for artists.
Let’s read that last line together as a class. ” Unfortunately, the majority of music consumption today generates little to no money for artists.” That kinda sucks, right?
This morning, the good people over at the Today Show asked consumers how much they’d be willing to pay for their favorite artists’ music. I have to say, I was a little shocked by the results. Folks really showed their true colors on this one (and baby, they weren’t red, white and blue).
According to the poll, a whopping 76% of the people polled thought they should pay NOTHING for the music they wanted to listen to. Like, zip, zilch, ZERO. 23% said they’d be willing to pay $10 a month, 1% said $20 a month, and 4% said they’d pay whatever the artist thought was fair.
After sitting with those results for about five minutes or so, tell me,”WHY SHOULD YOU GET MUSIC FOR FREE?” I feel like an elementary school teacher. I want each and every one of the 76% to write me three paragraphs about why they think they deserve to OWN free music.
One excuse I’ve been hearing is because all of these stars are filthy rich. To that I say, “That has absolutely nothing to do with you.” What does their income for doing THEIR jobs have to do with THIS? They are doing BUSINESS. I’m sorry you’re not Beyonce or Jay. Trust me, I wish me and my boyfriend were Jay and Bey too, BUT I cannot reasonably argue that simply because they’re rich, they shouldn’t be paid for THEIR product. That makes no sense.
Then you have the folk that say because these artists weren’t marching in Ferguson or speaking out about racial tension in this country, that all of this Tidal talk is null and void. There was also the “there are people dying/starving” argument.
— REGGIEOnTheMOVE™ (@ReginaldLBarnes) March 31, 2015
If for a good cause like helping feed STARVING kids around the world w/ $20 a month sure thing,but ur bank accounts no #TIDALforNOONE
— Your Lord…Now Bow (@IndiaMarieeee) March 31, 2015
Hey everyone, there's poverty, people dying and wars going on but that's ok these champagne sipping pop stars are launching #TIDALforNOONE
— Lee Kozlowski (@Kazinierez) March 31, 2015
— My Social Events (@mysocialevents) March 31, 2015
And lastly, there are those who are upset that these artists are making it a social issue. They feel that they are “co-opting” the struggle.
@KarmaJonez they're co-opting the real struggle of other artists and independents.
— Sus Frerotte (@Flames_Baldwin) March 31, 2015
To all of these arguments, I say, “No.” None of these arguments really explain to me why people should get music for free, and why these artists shouldn’t be banning together to protect themselves, and their intellectual property. Jay Z broke it down to Billboard:
“I can go on tour. But what about the people working on the record, the content creators and not just the artists? If they’re not being compensated properly, then I think we’ll lose some writers and producers and people like that who depend on fair trade. Some would probably have to take another job, and I think we’ll lose some great writers in the process. Is it fair? No.”
As a young entrepreneur, I’ve worked with countless clients of all backgrounds. There are some people who I’ve practically had to pry payment out of their hands. Is that fun? No. It’s becoming more and more clear to me that we are becoming an increasingly entitled generation. For some reason, we think people OWE us. For some reason, we want people to PAY us, but we don’t want to PAY them. Don’t you want to be paid for your work? At this point in the game, I’m like Cuba Gooding; SHOW ME THE MONEY, and don’t call back until you have it available for viewing. I’m not saying that people should be charged for every little thing, all the time. But what I AM saying is that if you want a product/service, you have to pay for it. In my mind, that really isn’t up for debate. We’re a nation that will spend nearly $5 a day on a cup of coffee, but don’t feel it necessary to pay artists for their music. Really, that’s pretty sad.
I don’t agree with much Madonna says or does these days, but she certainly nailed this one on the head. In an IG post, she commented:
“And remember nothing is for free! This is a universal LAW. Somewhere-Somehow-Someone has to pay. There is always an exchange. #truth. #tidal”
Taylor Swift is also not here for it. She’s pulled her content from all other streaming sites. Some artists have committed to releasing their music exclusively to Tidal. This is a huge deal.
And just for the record, I don’t know if you guys know it or not, but a couple of the artists who are backing this venture are extremely charitable and continue to be, Beyonce and Taylor Swift both making Buzzfeed’s 2014 list for most charitable celebs. I guess what I’m saying is, it’s unfair that every time a celebrity makes a business move, they have to answer to where the money they make is going, ie, the “There are people starving” argument. I think these celebs are well aware of that, and I can say with confidence that all of them have given A LOT to the community domestically and abroad.
So in case you couldn’t tell where I was going with this post, I stand behind the Tidal venture, I think it’s innovative, I think it’s cool, and I think it’s much needed. I think a lot of you all need to sit back, be quiet, and just ride the wave.
For more info, check out Billboard’s article below.