I don’t recall Jack White soliciting the public’s inquiries about Tidal, though lord knows the public has plenty. On his Third Man Records website, White answered some softball questions about the controversial new artist-owned streaming music service, queries that were allegedly submitted by fans. There’s not much in the way of substantial information here, though surprisingly, White does say he wants to get a bunch of obscure records digitized and uploaded to Tidal. At one point he utters the phrase, “Digital in the car, Vinyl in the bedroom, baby.”
UPDATE: Third Man’s post now reflects that the questions came from an online chat with members of its subscription service, the Vault, and another round of questions from Facebook has been added. The Facebook questions are generally more antagonistic in nature and have been added below.
Here’s the full Q&A:
From Vault Members in Vault Chat:
Will smaller artists be treated more fairly with TIDAL than, say, Spotify?
Jack: Damn straight. I’m aiming to get unknown artists paid so that they can make more music.
Can you tell us more about TIDAL?
Jack: TIDAL is going to help a lot of artists out. I’m talking about the punk band that has 50k hits on Youtube and doesn’t see a dime.
I think TIDAL is a noble cause, I don’t understand the backlash that it’s getting.
Jack: There’s a lot of misinformation about music in the last decade, people know that it costs a lot of money to make a super hero movie, but they don’t know that it costs millions to make a country album too.
Will the release of TIDAL help TMR grow as a company?
Jack: We want to get the music of TMR from the unknown artists out to as many people as possible.
Thank you for being an advocate for all musicians, not just the ones who have made it.
Jack: Glad you dig it. Unknown musicians don’t have a voice being heard, i want those artists to make a living at being artists so more great music can happen.
I really struggled to tell a large difference in “high definition” audio with the PONO player. Is TIDAL that much better?
Jack: Depends on what you’re listening too. Ear buds and computer speakers are only good for ham radio as far as I can hear! Haha! Remember there was a culture of hi fidelity stereo audiophiles that got tossed aside because of computers being the new stereo. There was a lot of beauty in that, just like watching a nicely streamed hd movie on a wide screen television with surround sound is gonna be the next plate?
What are some of your favorite artists on TIDAL that we can check out?
Jack: I want to get all of tmr’s music on TIDAL, so those songwriters and musicians can get their songs to a bigger audience (remember most of those artists don’t get radio airplay) and I want them to get paid royalties for their songs too so they can live.
I trust that you wouldn’t get involved in a simple grab for money like other people are accusing y’all of… I just wish it was something I could afford. With the vault membership, there’s not much left over for other “non-essentials…”
Jack: Well I used to buy three records a month at 18 bucks a piece when I was a teenager bussing tables. I also went to the movies three times a month. What did that cost? Same as today with inflation? hmmm…
How big of game changer do you think TIDAL will be?
Jack: It’s about educating everyone. It could make a difference just like tmr has made in the vinyl world in that last 6 years. It starts with people who think music is sacred and beautiful.
I think TIDAL is great for the fact that it will get more money to artists. After reading how little Pharrell from Pandora streaming off of one of “Happy.” Really made me realize how little musicians just starting out must be making, when Pharrell only made $2700 off of something like 43 million plays
Jack: Yep, whoever started the model of making a website that gets paid by big advertisers (Youtube) and does not pay that money to the artists GENERATING the interest. Makes no sense to an artist trying to survive.
I totally understand wanting to help out smaller artists. My musicians buddies are all struggling.
Jack: But also bigger artists, medium artists, whatever, if PSY gets viewed 2 billion times and makes a couple grand, where did all his money go?
It’s also very important to buy real records from artists you love when they are on tour. That buys gas in our tanks when we were struggling.
Jack, I truly believe TIDAL will change music in 21st century… for the sake of music Jack, did all the artists from TIDAL get along?
Jack: Yes we did. We spent all last night talking and discussing ways to make it very cool. Here’s the shocker: musicians want you to hear their music in the best ways possible. We mix on very nice speakers and systems only to have 90% of it be heard on tiny components that cut out half the information
Any largely unknown artists we should be looking for on TIDAL?
Jack: I hope tons. I want tons of obscure albums that haven’t been digitized to be on there too. Loretta Lynn recorded something like 90 albums! How many can you acquire or stream digitally? 4? 6? Where are the other 80+?
Which is why I find it interesting that you listen to your music playback in your car when you’re working on records, or so I read.
Jack: Digital in the car, Vinyl in the bedroom, baby
Does TIDAL have any plans for supporting independent artists? I hear that services like Youtube will soon be wiping away independent artists vids etc. or they will be charging them to host their content… something to that effect anyway…
Jack: Lots of ideas, but you KNOW I’m all for independent artists getting heard.
TIDAL is a bit elitist to be talking about the little guy in the music industry no?
Jack: What is elitist about it? Who’s speaking for the little guy?
Jack, it’s because everyone has gotten used to free and cheap
Jack: Should movies be free too? How about food?
From Fans on Facebook:
With the amount we pay for the Vault, TIDAL should be free, not just discounted
Jack: Third Man does not own or make decisions for tidal, this deal is incredibly cool and took us a long time to work on the logistics of. third man is artist owned, and tidal is artist owned. it wasn’t something we had to do at all, but we wanted the vault members to all know they come first and they have a portal to this artist run streaming service through us now.
What a joke. I refuse to support The vault and TIDAL. if you claim music is so special and sacred then why charge a premium for people to enjoy it?
Jack: How much did you pay for that last movie you saw at the theater? And how much did that movie cost to make? Don’t devalue musicians man, support them. Making records is expensive, believe us, I don’t see people saying we should go to the movies for free, or Netflix should be free. that state of music is in flux, be on the side of supporting creativity, not taking from it. this gives you that chance.
I can purchase a new record every month with that $20.
Jack: Please do! When I was a teenager I would go to the record store twice a month and buy 4 records each trip, anywhere from between 12 and 18 bucks a piece! and guess what? i still do! and with tidal, for 9.99 you have every record they can possibly get there hands on to stream. In the car, in the gym. Places you can’t play vinyl right? Think about it: how much did you spend on movies this year?
Sorry Jack, but I have 0 interest in making JayZ more money, and I don’t understand how Jack could be involved in this awful business model. Totally screws the fans, I thought he was a bit above that. How much money does he need?
Jack: A streaming service owned by artists is the first step, it’s not about the rich getting richer. it takes artists that can get peoples attention to be able to make a scenario possible for those artists that don’t have a voice to get in a position where they aren’t struggling, and believe me third man records is full of artists the mainstream’s never heard of and have no voice or power in the system. have you heard of Rachelle Garnier? what about the Smoke Fairies? Drakar Sauna? Pujol? The Gories? Those are just some of the up and coming artists on third man that try to make a living in music. And if you stream their songs… they get paid for it. And they get to LIVE and not take second jobs….and make MORE music! I support keeping musicians you love in business. We want a full third man roster page on tidal that you can stream hundreds of records on, and each time that artist gets something. that’s a beautiful thing.
And also… do we tell Steven Spielberg we don’t need to pay him anymore to watch his movies? He’s made enough off of us right? He should show his new films for free right? haha