Jay-Z made the news recently after acquiring Swedish music streaming company Aspiro for $54 million. Aspiro is an umbrella corporation housing music streaming services WiMP and Tidal, the latter of which Jay-Z is planning on branding as a contender with music streaming monopoly Spotify. If Tidal does well, it will be for one sole reason: testimonial.

Before we get started, watch the Tidal release video linked below.


I have a couple petty issues with this video, so let me vent really quick.

1). Alicia Keys’ speech was good, except you could sum it up with, “I really like music.”

2). Madonna. Stop. Please. You’re embarrassing yourself.

3). Did we really need to listen to the entirety of Radiohead’s “The National Anthem”? I unironically listen to “In Rainbows” on the reg, but that song is almost six minutes long. Cut it short next time, Jay.

Now back to your regularly scheduled broadcast.

After watching the video, can you tell me what makes Tidal a significant improvement over other streaming sites like Spotify, Pandora or Rhapsody? Neither can I, but your favorite artists from Arcade Fire to Kanye to Jason Aldean signed a piece of paper saying what we can only assume to mean they endorse Tidal. If I can say anything in Tidal’s favor, it’s that they have a brilliant marketing strategy in getting as many famous artists in one room as possible, with fair representation to almost every genre of music from electronic house to country.

There’s a host of issues in this one release video, but one of the biggest issues with the product itself is its main selling point. Tidal boasts that it provides “CD quality” recordings of music. Regardless of what the numbers are for the differences between the quality Tidal provides and what other streaming sites provide, there’s a small niche market of people who care enough about audio quality to pay $19.99 per month for lossless streaming. Even sound quality fanatics, self-proclaimed audiophiles, seek out the highest quality music possible for their listening sessions — i.e., vinyl. Personally, whenever I listen to Spotify or similar music streaming sites, it is usually on a desktop computer or a phone. In neither of those situations do I have speakers capable of faithfully producing FLAC and WAV file tones, as opposed to the smaller, lower-quality mp3 or AAC formats.

The audience Tidal hopes to reach by having this all-star cast of artists endorse the streaming site is massive. Jay-Z has been around since the ’90s, Madonna is a dinosaur, and Arcade Fire wrote “Funeral,” one of the most significant records of the last 15 years. The audience Tidal is trying to reach completely eclipses the niche market they target when championing these high quality recordings. At the end of the day, Tidal is just another music streaming service. It’s not exactly revolutionary, and their marketing strategy is a little hypocritical. But it’s going to be big, because they have Bey-Z on their roster.

Have a fantastic Tuesday.

Sean McCully is The All State‘s Assistant News Editor. He’s hoping Kanye won’t hunt him down for talking trash about Tidal on Twitter.