casual squad turns out to launch tidal

Jay Z, Beyoncé, Rihanna, Madonna, Nicki Minaj, and buds showed up for today’s grandiose press conference announcing Tidal, the new artist-owned streaming service.

by Rory Satran
30 March 2015, 11:35pm

When RiRi, Madonna, and Kanye all started blowing up the #TIDALforALL hashtag today, rumors flew about what was actually happening with Jay Z's buzzy music streaming service. Turns out the answer was an incredibly star-studded press conference where Ms. Alicia Keys hyped everyone up for Jay's Spotify competitor, and the world's most major musicians lined up in the roll call to end all roll calls. The most screen shot-able corner consisted of Rihanna in a violet mini-suit, Nicki Minaj in a pink coat, and a very goth Madonna. Chris Martin looked tan in a remote Skype situation. Rock music was represented by Arcade Fire and a dazed-looking Jack White, and Daft Punk wore full robot regalia.

Roc Nation chief investment officer Vania Scholgel introduced the gang as the "owners" of Tidal, and its shareholders signed a kind of Declaration of Being Baller while people applauded.

Said Keys, "Our goal is simple. We want to create a better service and a better experience for both fans and artists. And that is our promise to the world. Our mission goes beyond commerce, beyond technology. Our intent is to preserve music's importance in our lives. Music is the language of love, of laughter, of heartbreak, of mystery. It's the world's true - without question - universal language." She even quoted Friedrich Nietzsche: "Without music life would be a mistake."

As to the specifics of the service, it involves 2 subscription levels (one at $9.99 and one at $19.99). Unlike Pandora and standard Spotify, you will be able to play it everywhere. ("Yes, New York, you can take your music in the subway," said Scholgel.) So what makes it special? Access and editorial content, presumably. The site says "Introducing the first music streaming service that combines the best High Fidelity sound quality, High Definition music videos and expertly Curated Editorial." No comment on the extraneous capital letters, but so far the editorial side consists of a web magazine with stuff like interviews with Action Bronson.

Everyone on stage seemed so psyched, there must be some incredible content in the works. For the moment, the service just seems to be pissing people off on Twitter (@C.J.Cain: "If #TIDALforALL was for ALL it would not cost $20 a month to subscribe"). A lot of the reaction seemed to focus on the self-congratulatory vibe of the conference. But y'all know that you will be on Tidal if Willow Smith premieres her next music video on it.

Jay Z
kanye west
Nicki Minaj
Arcade Fire
Roc Nation