Effective Immediately: I am the new CEO of TIDAL

Last week, hearing that TIDAL losses have reached $28MM, I offered to take the helm at TIDAL and change its direction.

I won’t let the fact that I haven’t heard from TIDAL impact my excitement about my new role as CEO. Assuming my phone will ring any moment, I’ve decided to announce the three main initiatives of my turnaround plan:

  1. Embrace being an artist-owned service
    Since its confusing launch event TIDAL has been quiet about being an artist-owned service. I can understand as there was a great deal of backlash. But the backlash was bullshit. People say they want to support artists but apparently seeing them successful enough to own their own means of distribution is a bridge too far. We’re going to speak directly to why artist ownership and representation matters. We’re going to highlight the entrepreneurial history of the musicians who own our scrappy service. And we’re going to talk about the true economic empowerment that happens when artists control their own fate.
  2. A better payment network
    Payments suck. Micropayments suck even more. Apple has famously made micropayments work where no one else could by keeping over 14 billion credit cards on file in their secret data bunker. (Okay I made that number up but the bunker is real.) We’re going to lift the burden of micropayments and immediately allow all subscribers to buy directly from artists using a new service we call Pay With Tidal™. Pay With Tidal™ is an OAuth based service with two-factor security built right into our app. You can use it at the merch table, on artist sites, and soon on multiple platforms through support of our open payment APIs.
  3. An artist owned tech stack, open by design
    We’ve already got streaming covered, but streaming alone will never replace lost sales revenues. The new TIDAL will revolve around open APIs allowing artists and services to place offers directly into our apps. We’ll push to standardize these APIs across streaming services, allowing streams to be the bedrock upon which new creative economies will be built. We are going to transform TIDAL into a bazaar where all artists can participate — building new audience through discovery, retaining them through data collection, and monetizing them through direct physical and digital sales. This is in the best interest of audience and artist alike, and will build our own subscriber base in the process. TIDAL will be the model for a new, open arts economy that truly benefits everyone.

Okay that was fun, but my point here is simple: there are vital lessons to be learned from TIDAL. We devalue artists in our world to the point where we can’t even accept them running a music service without ridicule. We overvalue tech companies so much that we’ve allowed them to dominate the conversation around how the arts are experienced. It’s time we find balance.

We need to start listening to artists and valuing their opinion. And for the love of fucking goodness let’s work together to have some new ideas.

Streaming is a boon for listeners and a kick in the teeth for artists. It’s just that it doesn’t have to be that way. Let’s work together to figure out a better model before we all regret what we’ve lost.

My (hypothetical) new bosses