Music Business

How To Save Tidal In 7 Steps

2Although it's gone through quite a few shakeups of late, Tidal remains a viable candidate in the battle between streaming services for industry supremacy and, if it follows these seven steps, could perhaps still rise to the top.


Guest Post by Matt Voyno

I am excited about the music industry again. With streaming music the users, data, and money are all finally making sense. What’s even more exciting is that no one has won the game yet. Apple, Spotify, Pandora, Amazon, Google, are all in the running but I think Tidal could win the day. Although there have been shakeups at Tidal recently, for me their service has a lot of quality elements that I’m looking for. Yet still, they’re considered a long shot. Perhaps if they instituted some of the changes below they could pull it off.

1. Pay more to artists than any other streaming service
Make it a moral thing. How dare the public go with any other streaming service? If Tidal communicates to the public that it is the one giving the most to artists then it is obviously where users who care about artists should go. Moving people morally is a powerful way to build trust. Pay artists more and watch Tidal win. 

2. Work with Bandcamp, CD Baby, Soundcloud and indie artists way more 
It’s clear that there are many more people creating/involved in the indie, diy, amateur music scene than ever before. Bandcamp, CD Baby, Soundcloud and other such services have a ton of small artists who are left out of the streaming discussion. If Tidal embraces these huge groups of “middle class” musicians then it could be a big win for both. Plus add another notch to the belt of being a socially conscious streaming service. 

1 (1)3. Go physical
I’ve said this before because I’m a genius. Give everyone who subscribes to Tidal Hi-fi one vinyl record a month. Based on what they’ve most listened to that month/previous month. Make it automatic and make it a big deal. Work with artist for exclusive vinyl options that only Tidal users can get. Don’t tell me this is too hard or unrealistic. I’m tired of your excuses. 

4. Integrate analytics more – aka like LAST.FM 
People love analytics when they are humanized and made clear. The success of Infographics is an indicator of that. By showing people their own listening habits you can not only keep them interested and possibly on site longer, but also use this to show them more music that they would want. Yes Spotify has started to do this, but do it better. 

5. Explain that you can take your music OFFLINE
When I tell uninitiated people that you can use streaming music offline most are blown away. This message has not been heard by your Mom. She needs to know and understand this. This is no fault of Tidal, more of Spotify to not communicate it properly. But once mainstream people get this the mass adoption will happen. 

6. Use JayZ and the CULTURE you’ve built 
Tidal is one of the only streaming services that understands culture. Even though they “blew” the release they did achieve mainstream recognition with the Culture of music. Go harder with all of that. Including getting all the musicians (owners) in the company to lead the charge in their home regions. 

7. First you take Manhattan then you take the World
New York City is the greatest city in the world. Global youth culture is heavily influenced by what New York does. From clothes, art, music, buying patterns, everyone hears about what New York City does. So follow Leonard Cohen’s advice, FIRST you take Manhattan then you take the world. To be even more specific WIN OVER BROOKLYN. ONE borough, then you have the world. 

Even if Tidal embraced a few of these ideas they would be in a better position for the future. They’re already in a good position to make moves quickly, implement bold strategy more easily and quickly then the democratic-to-a-fault world of Spotify, and the boring/ambivalent world of Apple Music. We’ll see how it shakes up in 2016 but another good move would be to hire me, Matt Voyno, for the Tidal position of CEO. Or whatever is above that. Send offers!


Matt Voyno is a human, artist, musictech philosopher, internationally published author, writer,editor @SoundCTRL @NewRockstarBook @RVNGintl  

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  1. I’m curious how #1 would work. All streaming services are paying out 70-75% of what they take in. I doubt Tidal could pay out more than that and stay in business. Tidal also has no means of ensuring that royalties paid go to the artists. In most cases payouts go to labels or publishers. If the labels or publishers decide to rip off the artists there’s nothing Tidal can do.

  2. You sound like a tidal fanboy. Tidal is the same as everyone else. The label gets paid more than the artist. If you really wanna support the artist, buy music. When you stream, you don’t own the albums. If you cancel your subscription, you can’t take the music with you. I have a Google play and apple music subscription. I also buy music on both platforms supporting the artist.the money you paying tidal goes to tidal.not the artist.

  3. #3: A silly option unless you want the users to pay more. They still need to pay approx. 70% of the revenues to the labels and artists and the small margin they have they need to spend on a vinyl thats still somewhat expensive no matter how cheap they buy it AND the buying packing and postage? This is a 101 on how to crash a company in 1 month. And optional addition? Sure…

  4. I am a fan boy Megan. But I hear what you’re saying.
    Curious question for you: Would you pay for a service that gets you access to all of the streaming platforms? And how much?

  5. No doubt Wr that Tidal has no means of ensuring that royalties paid go to artists but I think if Tidal got the word out that they pay more to labels/artists in general it would bring over more folks to the Tidal side.

  6. Hi Jack, I’m sure that users would pay more if they got vinyl. I agree that it’s a crazy idea, but no one ever pushed the music industry/culture with safe bets. Thanks for your thoughts!

  7. I think first they have to improve service like offer radio not song radio offer a really cool radio service and what you mention analytics more social options and maybe live content like live streaming concert or interviews for me that could make difference

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