A Yeezy-sized Tidal Wave

After Kanye announced that his Tidal exclusive album The Life of Pablo was going public, a flood of fan disapproval followed. Jordan Oloman weighs in on the not-so-exclusive decision

NUSU
4th May 2016

Another week, another Kanyetroversy. After annoying everyone with his release date shenanigans for Pablo, he’s managed to make a few enemies. After claiming on Twitter that his album was only available on streaming service deadweight Tidal, he’s since released it on Apple Music and Spotify, much to my glee. Most aren’t as happy as I am though. A young Yeezy fan, called Justin Baker-Rhett, has filed a class-action lawsuit against Yeezy and Tidal for a refund and deceptive marketing practices.

As someone who signed up to Tidal for a free month, just to listen to The Life of Pablo, I’m not too fussed. However, I could understand if you paid the absolutely extortionate amont of nearly 20 British pounds a month for Tidal HiFi (or £9.99 for the Premium service) just to listen to an album that has been revised 3 times since its release.

If it wasn’t already clear, Tidal is treading water in the music streaming game. Against the established Spotify and the recent Apple Music, Jay-Z’s services seem superfluous.

if one thing can be learned from this entire situation, it’s that exclusivity deals help no-one, in any industry. Locking out potential customers just makes the swarm shout louder

Pablo adopters like myself were treated to an extra free month (fantastic news after Kendrick dropped a surprise album) and the offer of 4 months for the price of one at the end of my stay. Of course, I didn’t accept, but the sentiment is there.

The Life of Pablo accrued almost 2 million new subscribers to Tidal, and the financial safeguard this provided for Tidal has been made abundantly clear. They need us more than we need them.

If one thing can be learned from this entire situation, it’s that exclusivity deals help no-one, in any industry. Locking out potential customers just makes the swarm shout louder, and this suit (if it makes it to court) will easily cripple the Tidal. And if Justin doesn’t end up in the money, someone with a bigger justice team and more assets will.

It’s a horrible way to go about business, and I’m glad to see big companies getting their come-uppance for it.

The salient point here is obvious: the affordability of the Tidal streaming service. Competing with Spotify and Apple Music   has proven quite difficult. And, as much as I love Kanye, music should be easily accessible to everyone, and not just those who have a wad of disposable income.

Jordan Oloman

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