Hail to the Thieves Pt. 3 – Artists vs World

Hail to the Thieves Pt. 3 - Artists vs World

Hail to the Thieves Pt. 3 - Artists vs World

In the past decade, artists have had to accept the reality of streaming and file sharing and work with it in order to keep fans. It seems they are now targeting to take down labels and third part technology platforms. Recently, super bizarre footage of Tidal’s press conference surfaced, during which eighteen of the world’s biggest pop stars signed some sort of declaration. The words ‘movement’ and ‘revolution’ are tossed about as if it were a freedom fighters convention. Before the declaration signing, Alicia Keys gives a speech explaining the fundamental role music plays in literally everyone’s life, as well as foreign affairs. She does this with lots of arm gestures to signify unity, overemphasizing certain words and using quotes from Jimi Hendrix and Nietzsche. During her speech the camera panned across this random assortment of famous people revealing their expressions, which ranged from ennui to suicidal misery and searing shame (plus deadmou5 and Daftpunk, who could’ve been thoroughly enjoying it for all we know).

The celebrities then take an impromptu four-minute moment of silence, presumably to let the severity of the ‘revolution’ sink in and also to to smile at each other and look at their shoes. Once they finally began to start making their way off the stage, a montage of champagne toasting and air kissing ensued whilst Kanye reflected: “When we put our heads together, combining all of our resources and owning our oil, I just thought about how crazy this is, how this is the beginning of the new world’.

Tidal is a backlash against the music industry stealing royalties from the artists but some argue that it is still artists taking a stand against the consumer who is now all to comfortable with downloading for free. The people of Twitter have vehemently criticized Tidal. Some accuse the celebs of combining all of their resources in lieu of a social justice movement only to make themselves richer, whilst they ignore worthier causes to unite over. Tidal provides users with lossless sound quality but costs $10-20 per month and the difference is only audible with high-end speakers.

I understand how this is a big step for the artists; they are taking control of the output of their product. However, personally, I’m pretty indifferent to the ‘revolution’. When I’m listening to music, I’m listening to it via inferior MacBook speakers or UrbanEars headphones that don’t support higher quality audio files. Contrary to what Alicia Keys spent fifteen minutes stressing in her speech, music is really not a top priority to me. I recognize that this is going to be a fantastic platform for some mega fans but it’s going to take a lot more than higher sound quality to make ordinary people start paying for music again – which is probably why Jay-Z and Jack White have started personally ringing up new subscribers to thank them. This gesture does not move me for I, like most people, am going to need to spend that $20 (plus whatever industry standard speakers cost, which I’m guessing is a lot) on shelter and food whilst continuing to torrent to my hearts content. Sorry I’m not sorry, Jay-Z.


Written by CJ Lockwood

Pictures via Kevin Mazur/Getty Images, Twitter, The Guardian