By Scott T. Sterling
After the much-ballyhooed launch of the new allegedly artist-controlled music streaming site with a cavalcade of stars including Jay Z, Jack White, Kanye West, Madonna and Jason Aldean, a slew of musicians have come out very critical of the service, leading a TIDAL wave of backlash.
“We wouldn’t have joined it anyway, even if they had asked. We don’t want to be tribal,” retorted Mumford & Sons frontman Marcus Mumford, with the band responding to the mention of TIDAL with “a series of loud fart sounds,” according to The Daily Beast. “I think smaller bands should get paid more for it, too. Bigger bands have other ways of making money, so I don’t think you can complain. A band of our size shouldn’t be complaining. And when they say it’s artist-owned, it’s owned by those rich, wealthy artists.”
Death Cab for Cutie singer Ben Gibbard was equally disparaging of TIDAL, telling The Daily Beast that the artists involved have already failed by focusing on superstar acts that don’t necessarily need any help making money.
“If I had been Jay Z, I would have brought out ten artists that were underground or independent and said, ‘These are the people who are struggling to make a living in today’s music industry. Whereas this competitor streaming site pays this person 15 cents for X amount of streams, that same amount of streams on my site, on Tidal, will pay that artist this much,’” Gibbard explained. “I think they totally blew it by bringing out a bunch of millionaires and billionaires and propping them up onstage and then having them all complain about not being paid… this thing is going to fail miserably.”
British singer Lily Allen used her Twitter page to post an extended critique of TIDAL, saying that despite her love for Jay Z, due to the price point for the service “people are going to swarm back to pirate sites in droves, sending traffic to torrent sites. Up and coming (not yet millionaires) artists are going to suffer as a result… my concern is that Tidal may set emerging artists back.”
“The for-pay services are deluding themselves by trying to establish a permanent monetization of something that’s in flux,” Albini said during an interview with Vulture. “The internet provides access to materials and things. Creating these little streaming fiefdoms where certain streaming services have certain artists and certain streaming services have other artists is a crippled use of the internet. If the internet has demonstrated anything over the years, it’s that it has a way of breaking limitations placed on its content.”