Many people have commented on the odd promotional video for Jay-Z’s TIDAL music streaming service which portrays it as revolutionary. It wasn’t just portrayed as revolutionary, it actually looked like a big deal. After all, it was backed by Calvin Harris, Rihanna, Madonna, Daft Punk, deadmau5, Usher, Nicki Minaj, Beyonce, among others who were featured in the video. I wondered: Was it simply a high-dollar advertising campaign? Or was there more to it than meets the eye? It was the latter. Apart from the fact that it offers lossless music (which is nothing new), it is artist owned.
Various artists and record companies have struggled with music stores and streaming services over royalties and which restrictions to impose. For example: Taylor Swift withdrew her music from Spotify. On top of all this, music streaming/sales stores have essentially been middlemen — They consume a fraction of artists’ revenue. This is not a bad thing (as they need to be compensated too), but it inevitably reduces artists’ revenue and results in various disagreements. An artist-owned streaming service like TIDAL could enable artists to circumvent this issue, provided that the artists don’t fight each other over revenue!