Is TIDAL Actually Helping Artists?

Music is one of the biggest forms of art that constantly undergoes different forms of copyright every time a new delivery platform becomes mainstream. On October 28, 2014 rapper Jay-Z launched his subscription-based music streaming app Tidal. Unlike its main competitors, Spotify and Apple, Tidal doesn’t welcome users with a short-term free trial, rather it starts when you pay £9.99/$9.99 for your first month of access. Tidal justifies their overlook of free trials based on their aims to be the music streaming app that pays the highest percentages to musicians and songwriters. But are these strict copyright restrictions really helping artists? Or do they just give consumers a reason to attain music through cheaper outlets that won’t necessarily count toward artists stream and sale numbers?

Let’s take Kanye West and his 7th studio album The Life of Pablo (TLOP) for example. West, being part-owner of Tidal, released TLOP solely through Tidal. Though I’m sure there were some crazed fans that signed up for Tidal, paying £9.99/$9.99, solely to listen to TLOP, the album became one of the most popular downloads on the prominent torrenting site The Pirate Bay. Only 2 days after it’s Tidal release, TLOP had already been illegally downloaded more than half a million times. That number has skyrocketted somewhere close to 55 million.

Many artists, like Kanye release their albums solely through certain streaming apps to create consumer incentives to signup for the chosen app. However, I think that the number of illegal downloads definately shows that methods like that may actually backfire. I believe that if Kanye released TLOP through, let’s say iTunes, many fans would have paid the cost of the album (usually anywhere from $13-$17) rather than download it illegaly because they don’t want to pay a monthly fee for Tidal.

Do you guys agree? If you were a music artist how would you like your music to be delivered?


Kanye West’s ‘The Life of Pablo’ illegally downloaded in record numbers



  1. I believe that TIDAL was a great idea in concept but it’s delivery did not reach anybody’s expectations, especially Jay-Z’s, who wanted to revolutionize the music industry. If I were an artist, I don’t think I would mind my songs being downloaded illegally instead of everybody buying them because this is the way it works for decades. People just don’t enjoy paying for these kind of services and i’m not saying that we should give up on making actual records and sell them in store, hence popular teen bands such as 5SOS and One Direction make loads out of album and merchandise sells.


  2. I agree. Kanye’s album sales would definitely be more successful if he had released it normally. This generation would not appreciate having to download and pay monthly for an app just to download and pay for something else. We appreciate ease of access through the internet, especially in terms of downloading music and movies. Taylor Swift has similarly earned a bad rep amongst many in our generation for removing her music from Spotify, Youtube (aside from the choice few on her Vevo) and any other music sites where they might pop up for free listening or illegal download. When artists do things like this, though they have every right to, they earn a bad reputation with the millennial generation, many of whom will find a way to download their music illegally anyways.


  3. I go back and forth on my stance on TIDAL a lot. On one hand I completely respect the artistry and work that goes into making an album and the level of competition in the charts today that drives artists, like those endorsed by TIDAL, to petition for increased royalties. However, on the other hand I can’t help but think back to Chuck D of Public Enemy in debate about Napster with Lars Ulrich of Metallica, and rooting for music for all. It’s a tricky subject, and maybe if I was a musician it would be easier for me to say, but looking out the success of TIDAL, or rather lack there of, I don’t the platform has it all figured out.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s