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Tidal, Spotify, And Apple Play



Last week was a big one
for the music
Or was it? Tidal entered the arena with
Spotify and
Apple. What we are watching is the digital version of
the Game of Thrones.
One kingdom against


Guest Post by Shelley Taylor on
Digital Fan Clubs

In what seems like an admirable attempt to dis-intermediate
(get rid of the middle men) in the music industry, to put the
power (and revenue) back into the hands of the actual content
creators – musicians – Jay-Z et al launched a music streaming
service supposedly owned by the artists themselves. This is in
contrast to the other (huge) streaming service that could be
sold for $10 billion to Apple (a Lefsetz spoof but probably a
good idea), another giant – Spotify – who is owned by some
shareholders, the largest of whom are the record

There is a lot more to this story, but there are better minds
than mine, Bob
 and The
 among them, doing their journalistic duty
in cutting this Tidal wave down to a few insignificant drops of
water in an immense ocean of music industry failures.

Jay-Z and his buddies are part of the music
industry establishment. What we are watching is the digital
version of the Game of Thrones. One kingdom against another.
The Tidal founders are just the newer generation. They have
their own labels and management companies. They too are in this
for the money, just like those before them. But let’s not kid
ourselves – theirs is not a power-of-the-people revolution.
Tidal is (was) simply an effort to shift the riches
from the more established, old school labels, to the new kids
on the block.
But the mistake they made is to try to
do it in the same way as has already been done. There was
nothing revolutionary in their new streaming service, nothing
to make people tune in and turn off Spotify. They attempted a
coup, and failed (or will fail). 

What the music industry really needs is a

The would-be usurpers thought that shouting loud about their
new toy – the new next best thing – would somehow make it real,
or valuable or needed. It was just so much propaganda. The
establishment uses propaganda too to control people. Jay-Z and
his buddies are just up to the same old tricks as their

I believe in the little engine that could. We all like to see
the little guy can win. But how can a company with an
investment of $50 something million compete with a company that
could be sold for $10 billion? Maybe it could if it were
clearly filling a need that had not yet been addressed. But
Spotify and iTunes, at least for streaming, are an
unbeatable combination. None of us are going to pay
more for a service that we already have.

This Tidal wave is not a grass roots,
power-to-the-people revolution. But we do need a digital
revolution for content creators. The royalty that have amassed
all the riches – Facebook, iTunes, Google, Spotify, Amazon –
hold the keys to the kingdoms because they own the distribution
channels. They now own your fans and customers. The digital
royalty have used you to herd your customers and fans into
their locked paddocks and their protected estates. 

Little by little you are waking up, feeling the limits of your
so-called freedom, wondering what it would feel like to own
your own little plot of land, your own private social network,
your own channel.

Freedom comes at a cost. And the price is sweat, blood and
tears. It will take a huge effort to shift away from
the passive, yet addictive habit of posting on other people’s
social networks.
You love all those Likes and
followers, but you are seeing that the kings have locked you
out of their territories. They no longer broadcast what you are
saying to those very customers and fans who joined the networks
to hang out with you. 

You will have to stop listening to their
the sirens employed by those who want what
you have – your audiences. You will have to swim against the
stream, to close your ears to the temptations (and lies) of the
royalty. You will have to lead your own grass roots efforts,
become one with your customers and fans again. You’ll need to
find new tools and new ways to communicate directly with those
who you love and love you. You’ll have to take your mind back.
This is the real challenge. The real revolution will need you
at the center of it. In order for you to hold your own keys to
your own kingdom, you will need to be at the center of it.

You need to build your own channel, own your
own real estate, plant and cultivate your own seeds of
creativity instead of sending the bulk of your harvest to those
who have cunningly and secretly enslaved you. The real
revolution won’t be televised like the Game of Thrones. It will
be live.


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