Jay Z’s Tidal: Capitalizing On People?

Since music has gone digital from physical compact discs, respected artists have found that the only way they can earn a living is to tour non-stop for a couple of years with quick seconds breaks somewhere in between. Music just does not sell the way that used to. Artists are no longer celebrating selling over 250,000 CDs within a week. Those days are over. Now it is about selling out concert dates because consumers can easily download the music they love for free somewhere online. Hip hop mogul Jay Z believes there should be a compromise between artists and consumers by using a service called Tidal that will give fans access to new music all day everyday by paying a small monthly fee of $9.99. Consumers can continue to enjoy their favorite artists while also supporting artists to be able to eat and keep a solid roof over their head. While many understand this concept of give and take, others, such as another hip hop mogul by the name of 50 Cent, believes Jay Z is capitalizing on the people who support his music.

50 Cent wonders why he should have to pay $9.99 a month to hear music that he could easily access for free on services such as Spotify and Pandora. Many had a problem with Jay Z’s press conference regarding his investment in the streaming service and its new model wherein artists have a stake in the company. Though the press conference consisted of mega pop artists such as Beyonce, MaDonna, Alicia Keyes, J. Cole, Nicki Minaj, and list continues, it reportedly had little impact on the success of the new brand. According to non-supporters such as 50 Cent, the Tidal press conference symbolized that the company had no interest in supporting independent artists struggling to be heard, but rather lining the pockets of wealthy stars that graced the stage. But as many know about the harsh, cold music industry, here today…gone today. Those wealthy artists could be standing in the unemployment line next year if consumers stop spending money on music. Creating and performing music is their employment. Maybe 50 Cent has forgotten what the life of a real musician is really like.

Jay-Z believed in the Tidal movement so much, he reportedly invested a whopping $56 million early this year. However, the company has gone through non-stop executive transformations and instability. Tidal’s management turnover has now become a concern since Chief Investment Officer Vania Schlogel’s departed from the company.

First Chief Executive Office Andy Chen resigned. Then interim Chief Executive Office Peter Tonstad departed from Tidal. However, Schlogel’s resignation hit hard because she had become the face of Tidal.

During a time when Tidal should be growing against its competitors, the company has been under serious criticism. Tidal has had to re-launch with the many personnel changes. However, in the midst of all the changes and gossip, Tidal managed to reach one million subscribers. Tidal seems to be on the rise, regardless of what non-supporters are projecting. There will always be competition such as Youtube launching an app that gets rid of annoying advertisement popping up during a song and will allow much to be played offline. The new brand called Red is the same monthly charge as Tidal, but Tidal does not offer any free choices. The point is to keep music artists employed, not steal their work and ultimately put them out on the street.
Once Jay Z gets Tidal personnel in order and solid, the company could evolve the music industry completely. Jay Z has always been a man of vision. He did not make it to the top by playing it safe and not stepping out on faith. He knows where the industry is headed which could be disastrous for music artists later down the road if the industry does not figure out a way to make consumers pay for their favorite song. And nothing is more tragic than seeing an artist on top of the world one day and then down and out with a cardboard sign begging for assistance later. Tidal is worth giving a chance.

Strategy & Equity