Dear Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Kanye, Rihanna (and any other artists that put their music exclusively on Tidal),
Before I begin, I’d like to start by saying how big a fan I am of you guys and the music you make. You guys are four of the most dynamic, influential artists in music right now. You all sell out massive arenas and garner constant attention on social media. You start fashion trends and coin popular phrases.
You also release your music exclusively on Tidal. And that really makes me mad.
For those who don’t know, Tidal is a fairly new music streaming service. Similar to Spotify or Apple Music, Tidal allows an unlimited amount of listens for a monthly charge. Lately, the service has been trying to drum up membership by signing deals with artists so that they release new music exclusively on Tidal. For the 99.9% of us who use streaming services other than Tidal, this is slightly annoying, because it prevents us from listening to music from our favorite artists. Kanye, you drew a lot of attention back in February with the release of your album, The Life of Pablo. I love the album. It’s a work of art. But you made it a Tidal exclusive, forcing me to sign up for a free trial account that I knew I was going to cancel. You essentially used the album as a bargaining chip to force people to subscribe to Tidal. It worked at first; massive amounts of people signed up for Tidal the day your album came out. But what you soon found out is that after their free trials were over, people dropped their Tidal subscription like a bad habit. No matter how many times you tweeted that the album would only be available on Tidal for all of eternity, you still could not force people to use the shoddy music service. Your fans called your bluff, and you were soon forced to release the album on iTunes and Spotify in a meager attempt to make back some of the profits you lost by putting TLOP on Tidal. Additionally, you lost even more profits due to the record-setting amount of illegal downloads on your album, due to many people’s unwillingness to subscribe to Tidal, even for a free trial.
Beyoncé, this past weekend, you released a highly-anticipated visual album, Lemonade, on HBO. The premiere drew massive amounts of praise, and was heralded as one of the great musical features of our generation. However, after the premiere was over, you decided to release your album exclusively on Tidal. This slowed the momentum of the album’s popularity, due to the lack of people willing to sign up for a Tidal account. The exclamations of praise were muffled by the complaints about Tidal. Lemonade, similar to The Life of Pablo, is being widely illegally downloaded, thanks to the continued unwillingness of people to pay for a subpar streaming service. Once again, a great work of art was damaged by Tidal exclusivity.
On behalf of basically everyone everywhere, please stop putting your music exclusively on Tidal. It hurts your bottom line, annoys your fans, and limits the potential widespread popularity of the music. And I’ve ran out of email accounts with which to make free trial accounts on Tidal.