BandMark reviews TIDAL | Music Streaming for Audiophiles

by • April 7, 2015 • MusicComments (0)263

As someone who reviews music, curates music and has been working in IT and music for all of this century, I had to get my team together to review the ups and downs of the TIDAL wave. The first thing I have to say is that they need to fire their Search Engine Marketing team for spending thousands of dollars on: audiohiles! Literally their Google adwords team is bidding on the word audiohile and not as a deliberately purchased typo, but as a main keyword for the word TIDAL!  After that good chuckle, we went in for the Hi-Fi trial and this is what we found..

https://www.quiet.ly/list/share/ctXARxyFqr4PqlkTuWFKuiXMOIpouehiGyuoOyC3jH4?settingsId=1%26type%3Dslideshow

LOSSLESS AUDIO
When we gave it a thumbs down, it is not because we do not think lossless audio is the best thing since ice cream. Now that internet plans provide enough bandwidth and cloud storage and devices have enabled the mp3 to expand in quality, this was always an obvious evolution.. From a purely marketing standpoint and business model, 80 million active users on SPOTIFY are content with non-lossless audio so my question is, who asked for 25 million lossless tracks?

SEARCH
The worst piece of sh*t in any music streaming site so far.. No excuse that the site is in BETA. No typo engine, no auto-complete based on popular searches, no search memory cookies. NO searching by genre also is a total crime for the audiophile and rare audio gem hunter!

COMPATIBILITY
Lossless audio is considered “CD-quality music”, because the files are not compressed. The premium monthly subscription is a step down because it only includes “high quality” streams encoded at AAC 320 kbps – the same quality Spotify offers its paid subscribers. Yeah..

BRANDING
TIDAL is a beautiful and powerful word. The logo is slick albeit a little corporate-scary. One could easily mistake the company for a big pharma brand. I think the choice of pure black was an unfriendly choice.. it’s not exactly the united colors of artist-dom it -feels more like the cold velvet curtains of a glitzy mogul press conference.

EMERGING ARTISTS
Buried under many layers of Rihanna etc, indeed exists a lot of obscure and emerging talent. I was pleased to see a lot of our bands involved, it shows that companies like Uprise.FM (A truly artist friendly streaming site, who we are curating for) are on the right track in the digital streaming race to win the hearts and wallets of the music consuming masses of 2015.

SOCIAL SHARING
This is my forte so I could write a whole blog about all the social sharing features they should have for bands and fans.. Let’s just say it didn’t blow me away- but it works. You can share a track to Facebook or Twitter. It is missing hashtags, subscriber affiliate tracking, and sneak-peak audio and that is all the advice I have for them for free 😉

PLAYBACK
Big mega fail here! total disconnect with their niche market of Hi-Heads. A lot of my bloggers are audiophiles and they were immediately aggravated that there were no equalizer settings in their mobile app. They did not like that there was basically just 1 PLAYBACK sound. They felt it was like giving a kid a fancy car on a dirt road. Since they invest in pimped up headphones and speakers, they will not go past the trial unless TIDAL gives them more playback control like the Google Play EQ Android apps..

PLAYLISTS
There are curated playlists and of course the ability to curate yourself. The curated playlists by TIDAL mostly suck and sound like your parents made them, so stick to creating your own or finding some cool user generated ones. I don’t see cool music blogs hopping onto the playlist wagon yet (including us..) 

MUSIC INVENTORY
Impressively large for their BETA launch but a deep look into the actual music tracks and you do see that a lot of A list artists gave them a bone or 2 but nothing truly exclusive to write home about. I didn’t exactly get to hear Lady Gaga playing piano at home, Mick Jagger jamming at the Nelicote Mansion, or Jim Carol and Patti Smith reading poetry to Bob Dylan’s harmonica (ok the last example is fictional but people can dream right?)

MONTHLY FEE
Well this is just silliness.. this is ego-maniacal celebrity delusion at its best. They are hoping that the mega fans which is already millions of people who are willing to buy CDs and limited vinyls of the core founders, are willing to pay $240 a year on quality music. Not bloody likely since the music consuming audio file masses spend between $60-80 a year on CDs and get the rest of their music fix on a cheap streaming solution making it about $60 a year too pricey (and this is without the competition quietly forming an alliance of $9.99 Spotify, Deezer, YouTube Key, Rdio, Beats re-launch..)

 

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