Death Cab For Cutie put out a new record this year, Ben Gibbard’s post-divorce effort Kintsugi, so perhaps that’s why he’s newly concerned about the future of streaming in the music industry. Following the roll-out of Tidal — Jay-Z’s superstar-sponsored effort to enter the music streaming world — several musicians not included on the cool kid roster have slammed the program. (Or maybe they all read Michael’s great takedown essay and spouted off opinions accordingly). Mumford & Sons and Lily Allen are some of the most prominent musicians to publicly say they don’t like Tidal; mutual distaste can create unlikely bedfellows, eh? Anyway, Gibbard is also decidedly anti-Tidal, too.
In a recent interview with The Daily Beast, Gibbard pointed to the company’s emphasis on famous and already ultra-rich musicians, and said he wishes they had instead highlighted some of the ones who actually need the most help from a new kind of streaming service:
If I had been Jay Z, I would have brought out 10 artists that were underground or independent and said, ‘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.
Since nearly everyone who saw the half-assed announcement agrees with Gibbard’s sentiments, this isn’t necessarily a bold statement. Still, at least he’s offering constructive criticism. And Gibbard is definitely closer to the position of independent musicians than Jack White, Beyoncé, or Madonna has been in years. He continues:
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.
While I think Gibbard’s idea is a good one, I think people would probably have cared even less if the announcement was coming from a no-name musician instead of Rihanna. Either way, we both agree that Tidal is dumb.
[Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images.]