Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Tidal: Artists unite to launch doomed streaming service

A bunch of rich people have come together to launch a video music streaming service:

Alicia Keys, Arcade Fire's Win Butler and Régine Chassagne, Beyoncé, Daft Punk, Jack White, Jason Aldean, J. Cole, Jay Z, Kanye West, Deadmau5, Madonna, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna and Usher – rubbed elbows onstage at the swanky launch event while two others beamed in digitally (Calvin Harris and Coldplay's Chris Martin). Aside from making a spectacle, the musicians made the case for an artist-owned streaming service.
Fun fact: besides being millionaires, most of those people also used to make records at some point.

An artist-owned streaming service isn't a bad idea, it's just that one which is owned by rich, dominant artists isn't really going to do much for the 99% of musicians who don't have to worry about which house they left their other wallet in.

Naturally, the whole thing is being ridiculously oversold:
"We come together before you on this day...with one voice in unity in the hopes that today will be a moment that will forever change the course of music history," said Keys, the only artist to address the audience, in an exuberant speech. "Our goal is simple: We want to create a better service and a better experience for both fans and artists, and that is our promise to the world."
No, you just want to keep a bigger share of the royalties. The world doesn't need you to promise about this sort of thing.

Keys, of course, has been involved in a big tech launch before, having signed on to be the face of Blackberry shortly before that company introduced its 'rotting turd' range of phones.

I know what you're thinking. Is there a risk this event couldn't be self-agrandising enough?

No, they stepped up on that one:
[Keys] explained that the mission statement of the musicians, who stood patiently listening to the speech, was "to preserve music's importance in our lives." She spoke of artists delivering "exclusive experiences" via the service and ultimately finding a way to "preserve" the industry and the value of music. She also quoted Friedrich Nietzsche: "Without music, life would be a mistake."
Although since the point of Tidal is about restricting the flow of music, and when they speak about 'music's importance' what they really mean is 'the price of music to the listener', arguably they're making Nietzsche's mistake more, not less, likely.

But quoting a philosopher beloved of the Nazis might not have ratcheted up the pomposity to the sort of level we'd expect with Madonna and Jack White involved. Could you push it a little further, guys?
"Today is the day," she repeated before inviting her co-owners to sign what she called a "declaration," though she did not expound on what it said. "This is the beginning of a whole new era," she said before each present musician made his or her way over to a podium to sign a document.
Oh, yes. Signing a declaration. Because it's historical, right? That'd do it.

Unfortunately, video of the event wasn't put on YouTube so nobody really noticed this happening.

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