2019-02-16 14:15:54
With Tidal, Beyonce and Rihanna Prove That the Golden Age of Streaming Is Over — The Atlantic middlemen/music/Scrapbook

Then there are the quieter exclusives; already-released music that appears on one service but not another because of the vagaries of record-label licensing. I had considered switching to Tidal permanently after signing up last week, because the interface is nearly identical to Spotify (what’s missing are social-listening capabilities and a desktop app, though it’s possible both features are on their way), and because I like many of the artists who co-own the platform. But I keep running into gaps in its library; Grimes’s excellent 2012 album Visions, for example, and the well-reviewed new release from Jlin, are on Spotify but not Tidal. So what am I supposed to do? Pay for two services? Make up the important gaps by buying albums on iTunes, even though it’s not clear which gaps will be permanent? These aren’t the most pressing problems in the world, but they are, at least, more pronounced inconveniences than the ones streaming consumers have faced in the past few years.

When the new Beats arrives, this state of affairs may get more hectic. In an interview with Billboard, Jay Z made clear that Jimmy Iovine, the legendary record executive who now works with Apple, had been competing with Tidal for celebrity-musician endorsements. This might explain why big names like Taylor Swift and Drake didn’t join their friends Nicki Minaj and Madonna at last week’s press conference; it’s possible they’re aligned with Beats instead. Apple’s huge market reach and deep pockets also means that record companies have another party to negotiate distribution rights with, which gives labels power to ask for more favorable deals. It seems likely that this will lead to the various services’ catalogues becoming patchier, perhaps fluctuating over time à la Netflix’s Friends-one-month-then-gone-the-next offerings. (Probably not as dramatically, though; it’s in labels’ interest, generally, to have their music as widely available as possible.)

via With Tidal, Beyonce and Rihanna Prove That the Golden Age of Streaming Is Over — The Atlantic.

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