Yesterday's re-launch of the streaming service Tidal has got the entire music industry talking, but Lily Allen believes that the business model might inadvertently drive fans back into the arms of illegal downloading sites.
The biggest music news of the last few days has been the launch of the subscription-only streaming service Tidal, and the stars have been lining up to give their differing opinions on the controversial business model.
Jay-Z re-launched the service at a star-studded press conference including the likes of Kanye West, Rihanna and Daft Punk on Monday (March 30th), promising that Tidal would be a “better experience for both fans and artists”.
Lily Allen has expressed concern about Tidal's business approach
But British singer Lily Allen raised some concerns on Twitter about the subscription-only model, fearing that it would end up driving music fans back to illegal downloading from pirate websites if major artists cut their associations with free streaming services like Spotify in the way that Taylor Swift did last year.
Put together, her tweets read: “I love Jay-Z so much, but Tidal is (so) expensive compared to other perfectly good streaming services, he's taken the biggest artists... …made them exclusive to Tidal (am I right in thinking this?), people are going to swarm back to pirate sites in droves... …sending traffic to torrent sites. Up and coming (not yet millionaires) artists are going to suffer as a result.”
Allen believes the real problem is that record labels don’t pay their artists a big enough share of the proceeds accrued by streaming. “(We are) not (paid well), but that's because the labels take their market share and then determine how to divide it between their artists... …we could just strike till (until) the labels give us our fair share of streaming revenue...”.
Madonna, who was also present at Tidal’s launch on Monday, takes a differing view. Posting on her Instagram account, she said “Tidal is not about consumption and greed! It’s about protecting an art form that is beloved to all of us music! #rebelhearts stand together for what they believe in!"
Madonna defended Tidal on her Instagram account
In another post, she said “everything will be explained and revealed in time! Have faith! And remember nothing is for free! This is a universal law. Somewhere-Somehow-Someone has to pay. There is always an exchange.”
There are certainly compelling arguments for both sides – Allen’s point seems to make criticisms as people did about Metallica’s pyrrhic victory over Napster at the start of the noughties. How Jigga’s new business model for Tidal will fare in its first few months will surely be one of the most intriguing music stories of 2015.