Icons Ben Gibbard and Mumford & Sons are not riding the wave of Tidal’s newest innovation. On March 30th, music mogul and boss-moves investor Jay-Z and other major industry trendsetting artists made the big announcement of their involvement with the newly re-invented music streaming company, Tidal. Mr. “H to the izzo” invested a massive $56 million into the Scandinavian music streaming company, Aspiro, which states on its site, “Unlike any other services currently on the market, TIDAL offers high fidelity sound quality, high definition music videos, and curated editorial, expertly crafted by experienced music journalists.” Tidal’s additional initiatives are to create an exclusive feed experience along with platforming a creative space for musicians to make monetary leverage, offering services for $20 a month for users.
Earlier this month, Jay-Z pulled his album, Reasonable Doubt, from Spotify, one of Tidal’s competitors in the music streaming world next to Apple and Pandora. Consequence of Sound reported that Mumford & Sons and lead singer-guitarist Ben Gibbard with band Death Cab For Cutie, are skeptical about Tidal’s wealthy owners and their motives to assist all artists, including those who are considered grassroots. In an interview with The Daily Beast, Gibbard felt Tidal was dead on arrival.
Gibbard went on to express,
If I had been Jay Z, I would have brought out ten artists that were underground or independent… These are the people who are struggling to make a living in today’s music industry. Whereas this competitor streaming site pays this person 15 cents for X amount of streams, that same amount of streams on my site, on Tidal, will pay that artist this much… I think they totally blew it by bringing out a bunch of millionaires and billionaires and propping them up onstage and then having them all complain about not being paid… There was a wonderful opportunity squandered to highlight what this service would mean for artists who are struggling and to make a plea to people’s hearts and pocketbooks to pay a little more for this service that was going to pay these artists a more reasonable streaming rate… And they didn’t do it. That’s why this thing is going to fail miserably.
Winston Marshall, guitarist for Mumfords & Sons, expressed his feelings toward the 16 famous artists who graced the Tidal ceremony in star-studded fashion by calling them, “new school fucking plutocrats.”
He further stated,
We don’t want to be part of some Tidal ‘streaming revolution’ nor do we want to be Taylor Swift and be anti-it … Music is changing. It’s fucking changing. This is how people are going to listen to music now—streaming. So diversify as a band. It doesn’t mean selling your songs to adverts. We look at our albums as stand-alone pieces of art, and also as adverts for our live shows.
The British rock band made it clear they were not “into the tribalistic aspect of it” as they explained,
People trying to corner bits of the market, and put their face on it. That’s just commercial bullshit. We hire people to do that for us rather than having to do that ourselves. We just want to play music, and I don’t want to align myself with Spotify, Beats, TIDAL, or whatever. We want people to listen to our music in their most comfortable way, and if they’re not up for paying for it, I don’t really care.
Frontman of Mumford and Sons, Marcus Mumford, stated,
We wouldn’t have joined it anyway, even if they had asked. We don’t want to be tribal… I think smaller bands should get paid more for it, too. Bigger bands have other ways of making money, so I don’t think you can complain. A band of our size shouldn’t be complaining. And when they say it’s artist-owned, it’s owned by those rich, wealthy artists.