Tidal Hi-Fi or Jay Z’s Magna Carta as a Streaming Service?

A phenomenon occurred when avid businessman Mr. Carter took time away from his post as an entrepreneur and released his last LP in 2013. You may have heard about it. Upon the release of the Magna Carta Holy Grail, listeners didn’t have much positive to say about the album, as it stepped beyond the realm of common rap themes. Some pundits argued that the album was a natural progression of Jay Z that could have been predicted since his first LP, but overall it was too far a jump from the rap we’d been so comfortable with for years. So the discomfort with the album was a little off-putting and overall left a bad taste in the mouths of many.

One can watch that phenomenon of off-put continue due to discomfort recur with the leaps and bounds proposed by Tidal. It’s sorta like we’re getting the Magna Carta album again in digistream, pay-to-play form.

Via the often obscure art references we got from the 2013 album, Jay pretty much stepped into territory charted -and lightly, at that- only by him previously. This is precisely what Tidal has attempted to do, by not necessarily reinventing music streaming but innovating it in a way that makes it foreign to most. As most of us had no idea how low the quality of sound Spotify produced was compared to CD’s, the chic of the streaming on Tidal made itself much more clear, offering streams in FLAC 1,411 kbps. That’s awesome streaming quality, right?

In his chat with Billboard’s Tony Gervino, Jay Z mentioned giving artists a medium to experiment and do what they otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity to. This also gives listeners access to 25 million pieces of audio that are found only through streaming services. Again, it mirrors MGHC with Hov unveiling artists we would have never known about, which end up being the case in the Bruno Spoerri lawsuit that had a few folks delve into some more of Bruno’s catalog. Many were also introduced to the sounds of GonjaSufi on the album where he was sampled on “Nickels and Dimes”.

The ear canal widening experience Hov looks to dabble in is a type of education, sometimes perceived as condescension, we got many times throughout MGHC, as unknown art references followed unknown watch references, which were followed by unknown Cognac name drops creating a train of new stuff most of the public will only to get to experience secondhand. Tidal has promised to continue this learning experience, pedagogical in a sense, with their service.

And this is where the resistance to the service is born but not where it dies. You can imagine the streets felt hella betrayed when they first heard MGHC. It was probably the way the NOI must’ve felt when Malcolm was like “c’mon white people, we cool now!”. Farrakhan and them gasped and face-palmed like “who does this n**** think he is?!”

Even the Sultan of Soft, Drake, spoke out against the big homie calling him corny, son! It was a bold statement but for once the Canuck was speaking for the streets. Drake was also a major player absent from that press conference, yesterday. He probably thought that was corny, too. And now the audience that questioned Hov’s antics before has been surely extended to the broke college students, the struggling yuppie, and more. They definitely feel left behind cause, like the urbanites who wish they could spill D’usse on their Hublot watches, those who like the idea of Tidal want to experience all the cool shit it offers.

But not at that price. Nope. Not on duty. That’s really the only discouraging part of this whole deal. Having your data ravaged by downloading the nu-nu hi-fi becomes much a less a problem if you’re down to drop a young Andrew Jackson on the service initially. It’s the opulence that enjoying and understanding both Tidal and Magna Carta Holy Grail require, steering all of us away from away from the project.

Plus, it’s not like the service is the modern day version of the IBM 610, the first personal computer, that ran consumers $55,000. Digital streaming had been done before! A few times! Tidal is to Spotify what Picasso (…baby) was to Henri Rousseau; a follow-up that’s valued higher but not radically different than what came before. A review of Tidal on TechRadar.com even points out the layout similarities between the two services. Better believe that Tidal will use Spotify as model too, while avoiding the current streaming leader’s shortcomings.

So while, Tidal has not yet become our favorite and possibly could never, like Magna Carta Holy Grail, it was still put forward by the man who made The Blueprint and so much more. And according to the man, he feels like the underdog in this match, which is something scary to consider, cause he could F.U.T.W. at any time. Let’s not put the service to bed quite yet, but right now, I think we’re all okay with letting the tide lull.