Is Tidal in trouble?

(Chris ) #679

Well that’s great and I’m sure there are plenty who don’t sell merch but that doesn’t take from the fact that the vast majority of the touring musicians we host and I have met over the years all need to sell merch to make the difference and be able to persue their art.


I think TIDAL is getting better and better and I sure hope it’ll stay and get even better!

(Tim) #681

Change does seem to be inevitable. But it often amazes me that some changes can avoid / evade existing laws, operate and grow without appearing to have much chance of ever turning a profit and in the case of streaming charge prices that don’t appear to be high enough to fairly compensate the content creators whose content is being streamed.

I think the problem of people not buying anything in respect to streaming ( Tidal and its competitors ) is that people are paying to stream but they are not paying enough. Do the free streaming variants paid for by ads generate the same revenue per user as a paid subscriber would? Is the paid subscription price high enough to compensate the streaming vendor and everyone else in the music food chain especially the artists and songwriters?

Most people make choices based on what is best for them and not using enlightened self interest. In regards to streaming I’m the poster child for that approach. My Roon library is about 80% Tidal albums. I got Roon in May of this year and owned fewer than 100 CDs. In the six months I’ve been using Roon I’ve added about 350 Tidal albums to my library at a cost to me so far of only $120. If I had purchased those 350 albums my cost would have been several thousand dollars if I went for standard CD quality and much more if I opted for higher resolution versions. Pretty easy to see why I opted for renting from Tidal as opposed to purchasing.

I happen to be 65 years young and just retired. I don’t have first hand knowledge of how poorly artists and songwriters are compensated by streaming services but I’m pretty sure the services are priced lower than they should be. While I can’t say what I would pay per month to stream I know I would be willing to pay more than the $19.99 I’m currently paying Tidal.

Unfortunately for the artists and songwriters the race to the bottom on streaming pricing seems to be over and it appears it would be difficult for a streaming service to raise it prices substantially and survive.

Preaching to the choir here but another incredible benefit of streaming services is that I can follow a thread like this one, see a reference to an artist I’m not familiar with like Stephen Fearing and pop over to Tidal in Roon and listen to their music and add it to my library if I like it. I’m listening to Kings And Kings now and I like it.


(Mark) #682

This is not a new problem. The music industry has been royally f***ing over artists since forever.

Taken from a 2004 look at CD cost of sale anatomy.

This breakdown of the cost of a typical major-label release by the independent market-research firm Almighty Institute of Music Retail shows where the money goes for a new album with a list price of $15.99.

$0.17 Musicians’ unions
$0.80 Packaging/manufacturing
$0.82 Publishing royalties
$0.80 Retail profit
$0.90 Distribution
$1.60 Artists’ royalties
$1.70 Label profit
$2.40 Marketing/promotion
$2.91 Label overhead
$3.89 Retail overhead


@browellm Interesting reading. It’s where I was going with the high street example. Something like streaming comes along and someone in the food chain gets worried that their margin is going to get squeezed, ignoring that they’ve been squeezing the real talent for years.

@Tim_Jordan - thanks for the insights. Most of my albums are Tidal rather than bought. I too would pay more for streaming - if the extra is going to the right place. Qobuz does seem to pitch itself as a premium product. I don’t know where the extra cash goes in their case. I would hope it was the artists. But that’s probably just that - hope.


That’s exactly what my Aurender tells me. Obviously (I had to read it up), it’s the bandwidth calculation in kbps 16 bits x 44.1 kHz x 2 (for two channels).
Interestingly, I have a FLAC file of a guitar trio running at 16/44.1 where my Aurender shows over 5,000 kbps. Obviously, this recording contains some information that calls for a higher bandwidth.
Is there a way Roon would show the bandwidth, particularly of an audio file streamed from Tidal?

(Reader of the Internets) #686

Are you suggesting that Qobuz and Tidal will become what we used to call “record companies”, producing their own unique music and signing artists to their labels?

(Music and Shawarma Lover) #688

I wonder if the objective of the streaming services is to drive any hard-copy distribution systems out of business, or at least to make the very niche and expensive. Then they jack up the prices…consumers have to pay if they want music, and artists don’t have any alternative distribution.

Not that different from what Amazon did the last 20 years to brick and mortar…

(Mark) #689

The labels were on their knees after failing to react properly to the Napster/mp3 phenomenon in the early 2000s. This is just them being very late to the party.

There are more “ethical” distribution systems available like Bandcamp and of course self-releasing music. That way you know the artist gets a greater piece of the pie.

(Music and Shawarma Lover) #690

I’m also going to chime into the conversation above regarding this 128 kbps stream that supposedly sounds as good or better than FLAC. I’m highly skeptical. I mean, sure, if you listen to nothing but garage recordings or old Louis Armstrong recordings made on actual wax, but otherwise, I don’t buy it.

(Tim) #691


My ignorance of the inner workings of the music business can’t help but color my perspective on this but here are a couple of my observations.

As a consumer of music I believe I should expect to pay a fair price for the music I acquire from whatever outlet I get it from. But I’m not sure that I or any other consumer should be held accountable for the sins of those in the music food chain assuming that we have paid a fair price.

It appears from your 2004 data that almost $9.00 ( Packaging / Retail Profit / Distribution / Marketing / Retail Overhead ) of the $15.99 retail price goes away when streaming and one probably could argue that some of the Label overhead of $2.91 should go away as well. Then the cost should also go down since once a music company prepares a FLAC version of an album they only have to deliver one copy to each streaming service and theoretically incur no further production costs no matter how many times it is streamed. Seems like everyone should be able to make money assuming reasonable streaming volume and equitable distribution of the streaming revenue.

Given that reasonable and equitable appear to be terms that don’t apply to the music business and that the race to the bottom on pricing has produced free streaming if you are willing to put up with ads I’m not too optimistic that artists and songwriters will do much better in the short term. Maybe if streaming continues to grow their small share of the pie will at least be coming from a much bigger pie.

Similarly I’m not sure that streaming prices will be able to go up that much, the low price ( FREE! ) genie is out of the bottle and and it will be a bitch to get it back in the bottle.


(Steven Hansen) #692

I’m not suggesting that.

What I am interested in is the relative success and the different cost structures of streaming video services such as Netflix, and streaming music services such as Tidal. It seems that video services charge less comparatively yet have a huge cost disadvantage because so much of what is driving video is original content which is very expensive to produce. Why does video look so successful and music not under this example? It would seem that music should be doing much better.

Part of the answer I’m sure is the depth of the subscriber base. Therefore the ultimate success of streaming music will be building that subscriber base.

(Andrew Cox) #693

2 posts were merged into an existing topic: Has Roon stated their intentions for what they would do if TIDAL were to go out-of-business

Has Roon stated their intentions for what they would do if TIDAL were to go out-of-business

Just downrezed all my hi Rez stuff to 64kbps. OMG, it sounds so much better.Where are all my old Napster MP3’s? Peter, you should try that. Too much resolution in 128 to take it seriously. :wink:

(Chris ) #695

I’m recording all my DVDs to VHS now… a labour of love but I have to have it…


Let’s try to stay on topic chaps.


Love that record label! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: Okay, okay… :innocent:


People using VHS these days… that’s big real trouble for any streaming (or digital based for that matter) service, Roon included! It may not seem that way now, but I’m sure that somehow somewhere there is a MQA over type IV audio cassettes kind of love! Which looks pretty much on topic!!! :sweat_smile:

(Harold Novikoff) #699

Don’t MQA and the equipment manufacturers that have spent the money to become MQA-compatible have a major stake in keeping Tidal alive? If Tidal fails, MQA will have to get itself into another streaming service or it will have no chance of survival. There is no way that MQA can be successful on a business model that relies solely on physical media and downloads. I guess Qobuz is a possible alternative, but it is just starting a US presence.

I am NOT trying to engage in the pros and cons of MQA. I’m just stating this as a business observation. Tidal could get support from MQA and the folks who have a stake in MQA.


Sprint has 30% in Tidal ownership too.