The response to Jay Z’s controversial new music streaming service has been… not so good. Words like “arrogant” and “elitist” have been thrown around when describing both the service and the dozen or so music artists that helped found it. Whatever image Tidal tried to create for itself in the beginning has been corrupted beyond recognition at this point, which is why the service is working so hard to clear up any “misinformation” and give us a detailed explanation of the service’s vision.
At the MIDEM Conference in Cannes on Friday, Vania Schlogel, Chief Investment Officer of the embattled new streaming service Tidal, gave a talk that was long on talking points, charm and positivity but short on new information. It was the sort of talk that probably would go over like gangbusters with investors, but was less suited to a music-industry conference. Accompanied by a power point presentation of hand-drawn illustrations, Schlogel noted that music has lost a third of its value over past decade while demand increased exponentially. “From an investor standpoint,” she said, “it’s strange to see demand and value so far apart: the only time you see this is when the underlying product is commoditized.” To emphasize the “baseline belief that music has value,” she showed a personal video of her father, who’d recently suffered a stroke, singing along with a song that her brother played on the piano, and discussed how familiar music helps him to regain some lost facility: He turned to her and asked, “So how is Jan Z?” to laughter from the crowd.