So, I’m thoroughly confused. Tidal, the music service Jay-Z and other high profile artists initiated yesterday, seems to be stirring up a lot of emotions. Mostly, the debate seems to be over price for the streaming service and how Jay could have better spent his money. His money. HIS MONEY.
So, here’s my, albeit limited, thinking: don’t subscribe. I’ve seen a lot of talk about there being no free option. Also, the price being too high. And, this really being a way to line the pockets of rich artists.
I didn’t know there was a cap on the amount of money you were allowed to make. Considering there isn’t, the only way to make more money is to continue to create revenue streams with multiple, hopefully lucrative, ventures. Mostly, I would think, you’d want minimum investment to maximum return. But, somewhere on my credit report, I’m probably still paying off a pizza, so what do I know?
What really has gotten me about this discussion is the idea that we, as the audience, deserve free music. Music is an art form. It’s has superseded other art forms in that we take it with us wherever we go. It’s on our commutes. It’s in our down time. It’s how we avoid family. It’s how we avoid social awkwardness. It’s the reason we dress up and give names to events like spring dance and prom. Just so we can indulge with other people. It’s the back bone to our social experiences, romantic experiences, and memory recall. It is literally our curated soundtrack to everything we do. So I begin to wonder if the fact that it is so ingrained in our day to day lives, could this be why we take it for granted.
We hear a finished product. We benefit from a finished product. Are we still considering that someone sat down and thought of those lyrics? Beat the pads on their AKAI4000 over and over for hours? Recorded that track? Set the eq levels? Cut and paste on fruity loops or protools til their eyes crossed? That four minutes of audible cinnamon bun is the result of time and thought and someone’s passion ( I didn’t say everyone’s but someone involved in that process was passionate about it).
If someone consistently puts out art that you enjoy-art you benefit from whether visually, emotionally, or audibly – they should be compensated. In the way that they see fit. When your employer deposits your check would you be willing to have them tell you, “we’ve paid you well over the last 5 years. I think it’s only right you find new ways to bring in revenue while continuing to provide us your services.” The level of oh hell no would be completely ravenous. But, this is basically what we are doing to artists.
You have the choice not to subscribe to Tidal. If you cannot afford the service, let be something you aspire to when you have the extra income. If you see no benefit in the service, move on. I personally don’t like the idea of renting music and have, since their inception, had no use in streaming services. I want to own my music. I want control of when and where I play it. I don’t want albums or songs disappearing when copyrights or negotiations expire. However, that’s just me.
We’ve somehow interlaced support with purchase power. Buying albums, concert tickets, t-shirts, lipsticks, books, dvds, it’s all got us feeling like cake daddies. Because we can tie our purchases directly back back to this one (or group of) individuals, we’ve detached from the essence of what we are actually doing. Purchasing a product.
The issue seems to be a bit bigger that just a music streaming service and it’s price points. This seems to be rooted in entitlement. The more money artists make, the less we think they should charge. Because, I helped you buy that Rolls. I probably paid for that iPhone Blue Ivy is using as a teething ring. I helped pay for that private jet. I helped send Apple Blossom to that expensive private school. But the reality is, you paid for a product. No different than the bread you bought from Kroger’s or the bowl of soup from Panera bread. These artists are offering you a product that you have a choice to take advantage of. If the bread costs too much, find cheaper bread. If the bowl of soup isn’t in your budget, accept that you can’t have it and go eat some chunky campbells.
Some of yall just cheap bastids who want everything free. There’s also that. No judgment, though. Carry on.