When I heard the news that Tidal was hosting a concert featuring Prince, Beyoncé, Jay Z, Usher and more I immediately hopped on G Chat to let my sister and friends know that it was probably the place we needed to be on October 20.
My sister, the ticket purchaser extraordinaire, volunteered to stare at her screen until 12 pm when the tickets were available. None of us are Tidal subscribers so we had to wait until they became available to the general public. Well, they never really did.
Thankfully, there’s StubHub. But if you’ve ever used the service you know people can be a bit outrageous with their asking prices. So we waited for the date to near and the ticket prices to come down some. In the meantime, I bought a cheap flight to Puerto Rico and Victoria (our Senior Editor) remembered she was saving for a wedding and that money could probably be put to good use elsewhere. So we dropped out.
But my sister and her friend were still down and they purchased tickets for $150 each.
They ended up being somewhere in the nosebleed section but they were going to see quite a few of their faves under one roof. Surely, it would be worth it.
When my sister came home last night, after the concert, she didn’t come in humming a tune. Her voice wasn’t hoarse from screaming and singing at the top of her lungs. She came in silently. I had to ask her how it went.
“It was terrible.”
She said that when she and her friend got there they noticed that Prince’s name was no longer on the flier. They thought it was weird but would eventually learn that he had pulled out of the performance all together.
Then artists like Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, and even Usher only sang 1-2 songs.
And Beyoncé, the greatest entertainer of our time? She didn’t even get a set to herself. She only appeared on stage to slay with Nicki Minaj during “Feelin’ Myself” and alongside her husband for “Holy Grail.”
No wonder the homie Prince had to back out. Which two Prince songs would you want to hear in concert? That’s an impossible question to answer. I want to hear 20 Prince songs…at least.
While I was thankful that I didn’t spend my own money on what would have been an epic let down, I was also disappointed for my sister and for Tidal at large.
At the end of the day, I would love for Tidal to win; but up until now, they really haven’t shown me anything that proves they deserve to.
For centuries, artists, particularly Black artists have been screwed out of their fair share. The record companies never let them see it. Their managers and lawyers take it. And now, in this digital age, fans can listen to the music, virtually any time they want, and the artist is not compensated for it.
As a fellow creative, I know, fundamentally, that’s not right.
And while I would love for Jay Z, a Black businessman to be the one to change the game and bring power back to the people who create the music and culture we love, he seems to keep missing opportunities to do just that.
At the press conference when the service was first announced, all of the celebrities trotted out and stood in a line, smiling before signing a paper. Alicia Keys made a speech about changing the game but I still didn’t understand exactly what I was supposed to be buying into. And I just can’t afford to pay $20 for a service of which I haven’t been convinced.
Instead of using the press conference as a time to tell the people what it’s like to feel used and abused as an artist, the world’s most financially successful musicians smiled and asked for even more of our money.
That’s ballsy particularly when there are services that will do it for free. See Spotify, Pandora etc.
I can’t help but get the impression that Jay Z and his executive board felt like their mere presence and star power would be enough for the people. And when it comes to $20 a month, after we already support these artists’ albums, tours and art, it’s a bit much. At the very least, it will take some convincing.
This is the same thing that happened last night at the Barclays Center. The most successful names in music stood out, gave us a sampling of their talent and then dipped. Thankfully, the money went to “nonprofit organizations dedicated to advancing positive community relations and effecting systemic change for the development and sustainability of just societies,” but once again, the consumer was left uninformed and slighted.
It’s been a rough start for the brand. Hopefully they’ll be able to find a way to both market the product better and actually appeal to the customer’s needs and wants rather than just relying on celebrity.