I subscribed to Tidal.

No, I did not win the lottery. Third Man offered up a 75% discount to Vault members, so at $5/month, I decided to give Tidal a try. I wouldn’t go so far as to call myself a Jack White completest, but I’m a pretty big fan, and when Jack streamed his recent acoustic performance on the Jay Z owned music service, I saw a new potential in what Tidal was doing that intrigued me. The coupon won me over. It was an investment in the potential of what that video can be in the future. When Jack goes back on tour eventually? During Taylor Swift’s tour? When Jay Z and Beyonce are just baking cookies at their house? I may be able to watch that? For $5 a month? Okay. I’m in.

As such, here are some early thoughts:

1. Lossless Audio – I can authentically notice a difference in the audio quality. I was listening to Donny Hathaway’s “The Ghetto” on one of Tidal’s curated playlists today and I could hear the distant jangle of a tambourine in my left ear. It’s a really cool sensory experiment when you’ve become accustomed to compressed audio over the past decade. Will most people care or even notice? Not at all. But I think it’s really cool.

2. Tidal Rising – Where Spotify has a “New Releases” section and a “Discover” section, Tidal also has a section labeled “Tidal Rising,” which offers entire album selections from up-and-comers that you may not have yet heard of – and they’re typically great. Tidal’s efforts to lead you to new music seem greater than Spotify’s. I saw my pals Great Peacock topping this section yesterday, and it was super, super, super cool.

3. Curated playlists – Similarly, the curated playlists are really cool, and likely where I will spend a lot of my time. They have very specific themes, and some can introduce to very unique genres. And I suppose this isn’t much different than Spotify, but often, these playlists are created by artists and other pros.

4. The videos – The videos are what grabbed me, and right now, you can watch that entire Jack White set in the archives. Some of it is pointless. As I type this, I am watching a 5 minute video of Beyonce wishing Stevie Wonder a Happy Birthday. I didn’t particularly need that in my life, but I don’t need director’s commentary on DVDs either. It’s paid for, may as well use it.

But most artists have nearly complete music video archives streaming already. Remember MTV? It’s like that, but in your pocket. [Yeah, you can get most music videos on YouTube].

Ok. It’s almost entirely about the potential of the live concerts. And at $20 a month, there’s no way I would invest in it in addition to Spotify. But at FIVE dollars? Why not. If that potential is maximized, you can’t come gather around my iPad and watch the hypothetical series “Bey-kin’ Cookies” that I just made up in my head.


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