Has TIDAL Gone Flat? Jay Z Introduces a $760 Champagne

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As Apple Music and Spotify compete for the future of music streaming, is Jay Z losing interest in the quick-falling TIDAL?  Just this morning, the extremely status-conscious rapper introduced an extreme luxury, $760-a-bottle champagne line.

Introducing Armand de Brignac’s “Ace of Spades,” a Jay Z-backed, ultra-pricey bubbly designed to further snub Cristal.

Extreme over-pricing and status-obsession have put rappers like 50 Cent into bankruptcy, while pumping fake products and luxury rentals into rap videos for decades.  Jay Z is one of the rare rappers that can actually afford this stuff, though part of this is rooted in beef from a decade ago.  That’s when Frederic Rouzaud, managing director of Cristal manufacturer Louis Roederer, offered a rather racist response to a question about his newfound rapper audience.   “What can we do? We can’t forbid people from buying it,” Rouzaud told The Economist. “I’m sure Dom Pérignon or Krug would be delighted to have their business.”

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Jay Z is a diverse and talented entrepreneur, though the champagne diversion raises serious questions about the future of TIDAL.  After an extremely-noisy Apple Music launch and heated summer warfare with Spotify, TIDAL’s profile has continued to fade into oblivion.  TIDAL never recovered from its ill-fated launch by seemingly-selfish millionaire artists, and appeals towards higher fidelity mainly fell on quality-deaf ears.

That’s a shame, given that TIDAL has been rallying to improve artist per-stream payments for months, an effort that is mainly getting ignored by a media that’s moved on.  The question is whether Jay Z is doing the same.

Top image by Quinn Dombrowski, licensed and adapted for commercial use under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC by 2.0). Middle image courtesy of #TIDALforALL.

26 Responses

  1. GGG

    They must be introducing a new vintage or something because regular Ace of Spades has been around, endorsed/owned by Jay-Z, and used by dbags to show off in clubs for a little bit now. There was even an article within the last year or so saying how it’s somewhat “controversial” because by all expert accounts, it’s not that great a wine. It was a smaller, cheaper winery that Jay-Z aligned with, marked the price up absurdly and got trust fund babies to think is high end stuff.

    But regardless of that, he’s been involved with this longer than he has with Tidal.

  2. Art

    Can we do this again discussing what a complete joke Tidal is?? Let’s take a bunch of rich pop/hip hop stars and let them bitch about they’re not making enough money??? So disconnected from the people who listen to their music

    • Esol Esek

      so you work for Spotify or what? This isn’t about the rich artist. Man you are dense.

      • Chico

        Well it sort of is. Only a rich artist, who’s completely disconnected from reality and the little guys he claims to care about, wouldn’t be putting his name on $760 bottles of champagne. It’s clear Jay-Z cares about money, and nothing else.

        • Andamo

          so you guys don’t think that artist should receive adequate compensation for their intellectual property? they should continue to suffer from people that pirate and illegally download? I get it.

          • Dameon

            Wow, Tidal has its minions out to defend this comedy-of-errors.

            To Tidal employees: Tidal is a poor idea. The price point is too high, the “technology” is irrelevant on phone tech (and eats up data at twice a rate), and the brand was poisoned by the pretentiousness of the event.

            There is really no logical reason to use Tidal as opposed to Spotify, Apple Music, etc…

          • Name2

            To Tidal employees: Tidal is a poor idea. The price point is too high, the “technology” is irrelevant on phone tech (and eats up data at twice a rate),

            I’m too poor to afford any mobile data plan, so I offline all my Tidal content on my home WiFi to my unlocked Samsung GSM phone, originally made for an Australian telco and which I use as a teeny-tiny tablet.

            Done, and done.

          • Dameon

            Excellent work! I would also keep taking advantage of the free month – just get a new e-mail each time.

          • Name2

            We must have a misunderstanding. I don’t actually work in the music business, so I’m not a thief. Thank you for your suggestions, however.

  3. Faza (TCM)

    I wouldn’t write Tidal off just yet, although it should be pretty clear that they are desperately in need of a selling point.

    Let’s face it: at the end of the day, nobody gives a damn about the whole “artist-owned” angle – not even other artists. Unless they can somehow leverage this into a product offering (perhaps, by going after the fan-artist relationship in a big way – exclusive content, exclusive contacts etc.), they have no hope of competing with Spotify or Apple.

    • Dameon

      To make matters worse, the brand is so poisoned, exclusive content only hurts the company. Whenever one of the Tidal Sixteen creates exclusive content, it is just seen as an attempt to make themselves more money (and save their company). The Beyonce/Minaj and Madonna videos were disasters.

      These are the Tidal Sixteen: Kanye West, Jay Z, Madonna, Nicki Minaj, Beyonce, Jack White, Alicia Keys, Rihanna, Chris Martin, Usher, Daft Punk (2), deadmau5, J Cole, Jason Aldean, Calvin Harris and Jay Z.

  4. Sell Out

    Noooooo! I love Tidal. It streams in lossless FLAC quality that sounds amazing. I hope this company doesn’t go under.

    • Anonymous

      “It streams in lossless FLAC quality that sounds amazing”

      Unfortunately, nobody can tell it from current mp3s in double blind tests…

      • Name2

        Within about 30 seconds of starting any stream on Tidal, if my ears pick up that something is wrong, I check the settings and see that – yup – it is not streaming in lossless (“HiFi”, as they call it). That’s my experience. YMMV.

        Sometimes this is because the stream is not AVAILABLE in HiFi on Tidal (happens more than I like) or I previously manually set the stream rate to 320kbps because trying to stream in HiFi results in interruptions and dropped songs. (This happens about 99% of the time, if I am not streaming in Chrome on the desktop).

        Tidal desperately needs a more robust stream-delivery approach, yesterday.
        Failing that, they need to allow offline access on their desktop app, as is offered by Rhapsody and Spotify.

        I’ve been a happy $19.99 customer since the US launch, but at this point, my android portables are the only place I can go to listen to uninterrupted, complete HiFi tracks. Nice, but not what I signed up for. Diminishing returns. I think he should put down the bottle and invest in some better infrastructure or more clever developers.

      • Soundstream

        You have to listen on something besides $10 old Apple buds or Beats hyped headphones to hear what is a clear difference. Most people with decent hearing (and taste) would hear the difference Tidal delivers.

        No fan of hype, rap or JZ but the service is already much improved from the initial launch. They’re clearly responding and improving the product which features flat out great FLAC sound.

  5. kurt

    Garbage journalism.

    1) Tidal has nothing to do with Armand de Brignac releasing a new style of wine.

    2) We’ve seen zero numbers to support the media hype around Tidal’s lack of success. I’m listening to Jay-Z’s Summer Sauce 2 playlist on Tidal right now.

  6. Adam

    What a joke. Those guys don’t even make good champagne. Leave it to club people to drink the worst of the expensive stuff… its almost like its expensive just to be expensive, not because its good.

    The ceiling price for good quality champagne is actually much lower than that. By hundreds of dollars per bottle. Only fools spend their money on Cristal when they could be drinking actually good champagne for about 1/4 the price max…

    Oh, Tidal. Right. What’s that again?

  7. Logical fallacies, oh my!

    Click-baiting headline worked on me; however, correlation without causation.

  8. Thomas

    I just hope somebody else will come up with FLAC streaming when TIDAL is dead, love the sound quality.

  9. Denny

    Especially if you do psilocibyn session with your friends the sound matters.

    • Name2

      I used to bother to go to museums, then I just decided to surf tumblr for selfies of people in front of paintings.

  10. PeterInVan

    Suggestions for saving Tidal

    1. Tidal discovery is 95% Rap. Cater more to the older demographic that wants to pay $240 a year for higher quality (to play through their high priced speakers and headphones).

    2. Disintermediate the record labels. Cut out the middleman and provide a simple way for artists to bring their music to the audience through Tidal. Pay the artists, not the record labels.

    3. Merge with Roon to provide a best in class front end player and cataloging system.