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?