Producer Steve Albini (Nirvana, PJ Harvey, and Pixies) has his doubts about Jay Z’s music streaming company Tidal. Not only did Albini call Tidal a “budget version” of Neil Young’s Pono music player, but he also stated there is no substitute for free music. “If you want your music to play at the push of a button, convenience is going to trump sound quality 100 percent of the time,” Albini told Vulture magazine. Tidal states it has a higher-sound quality than the other music streaming companies. Jay Z is hopeful consumers won’t mind paying a greater rate ($19.99) for Tidal’s services.
Albini reiterated his statement that listening to music is all about convenience, and that is something music streaming companies like Tidal, Spotify, Rhapsody, and Beats Music can’t put a price on. “Historically, every time there’s been a new technological progression, there’s been a new convenience format [in regards to listening to music]. So the question is, it is it possible for something to be more convenient than streaming? The answer is obviously yes.”
The producer told Vulture that there are too many music streaming services competing against one another, and that competition may end up destroying the market. “The for-pay services are deluding themselves by trying to establish a permanent monetization of something that’s in flux. The Internet provides access to materials and things,” he explained. Albini continued, “Creating these little streaming fiefdoms where certain streaming services have 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.” In 2014, Albini stated being able to share songs for free was the best thing to happen to music since punk rock.
Even with all of his supporters, it seems some artists and producers will never favor or see the benefits of Jay Z’s Tidal. Ironically, Tidal is geared towards making sure artists, producers, and songwriters receive a better payout rate than its competitors are offering. Just recently, Marcus Mumford (Mumford and Sons) stated Tidal favors wealthy mainstream artists, not independent musicians. “I think smaller bands should get paid more [Tidal payout] for it. Bigger bands have other ways of making money, and so I don’t think you can complain. When they say it’s artist-owned, it’s [really] owned by those wealthy artists,” Mumford told The Daily Beast.
FDRMX Eyes: Nick Deutsch is a singer-songwriter based in New York City. The musician has released a music video for his song, “Crazy Ride.”