Kanye recently released his long-awaited album, The Life of Pablo for Tidal subscribers to get the first listen.
Most fans were waiting until a week had passed to purchase the album on iTunes, but Kanye made a shocking announcement that the album would not be on the store. In fact, he said that The Life of Pablo would NEVER be for sale.
Subscriptions to Tidal soon reached 2.5 million subscribers, which is more than double the amount before TLOP was added to the streaming service (according to Fader).
But with services like Tidal, how will this affect fans and the way that we get our music?
Tidal currently charges £19.99 a month for its HiFi service (which gives subscribers High Fidelity sound) or £9.99 for Tidal Premium (which also gives subscribers their exclusive experiences and content but without the High Fidelity sound).
With great experiences for fans, such as watching live streams of events like Yeezy’s Season 3 fashion show or talks from artists like T.I., Tidal is widening (and in some cases forming new) access to events and moments that music fans would otherwise not get.
But when it comes to streaming services, does it help the artist?
In cases like artist Taylor Swift, who has sworn that her music will never be available to stream on Spotify, it’s clear that some feel that their music being streamed without the more traditional way of purchasing a song can be damaging to their career.
Spotify offers free accounts to users with the con being that the listener has to put up with ads after every couple songs. Premium account holders can skip the ads and happily stream their music without interruption. With Spotify there doesn’t seem to be any clear additional benefit to the artist. So Tidal seems better in this sense.
However, many users of Tidal are merely using their option of a free trial to stream albums like Kanye’s and watch exclusive content. Will they stick around after their month trial ends? Who knows, but so long as Tidal keeps their content strong and fresh, I don’t see why not. And if more artists like Kanye take the risk and decide to devote their music to Tidal and Tidal alone, their subscribers might just see more pros to their money than cons.
Personally, I’m kind of disappointed that Ye has decided to only give his fans access to his music through Tidal. What happened to the days of going into a store and having a physical copy?
Times are changing and with that we’re seeing developments into the way that we get our music. But would you rather have a physical copy that you can play in your car, other people’s cars and stereo systems – all without having to be connected to the internet?
Having your album on a streaming service and nothing else seems a little restricting to me. I’m sure that Jay Z is happy about Kanye’s decision, but I feel that his fans (including myself) feel a little let down that they can never share the album without being a Tidal subscriber.
And while the news of Tidal’s revenue increasing is all well and good, I would have been much happier to purchase the album on iTunes (every little helps when it comes to Yeezy’s personal debt of $53 million, am I right?)