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Mumford and Sons, Ben Gibbard blast TIDAL and its ownership of “new school fucking plutocrats”

on April 14, 2015, 10:58am

Not every musician seems to be on-board with TIDAL, the new high-fidelity streaming music service owned by Jay Z and a host of other big-name artist. In a pair of interviews with The Daily Beast, both Mumford and Sons and Death Cab For Cutie’s Ben Gibbard railed against the platform, questioning the true intentions of TIDAL’s millionaire owners and whether it truly benefits smaller, independent artists.

“We wouldn’t have joined it anyway, even if they had asked. We don’t want to be tribal,” Mumfords frontman Marcus Mumford told The Daily Beast. “I think smaller bands should get paid more for it, too. Bigger bands have other ways of making money, so I don’t think you can complain. A band of our size shouldn’t be complaining. And when they say it’s artist-owned, it’s owned by those rich, wealthy artists.”

Banjoist Winston Marshall, meanwhile, called TIDAL’s owners “new school fucking plutocrats,” adding “We don’t want to be part of some TIDAL ‘streaming revolution’ nor do we want to be Taylor Swift and be anti-it … Music is changing. It’s fucking changing. This is how people are going to listen to music now—streaming. So diversify as a band. It doesn’t mean selling your songs to adverts. We look at our albums as stand-alone pieces of art, and also as adverts for our live shows.”

(Read: A TIDAL Wave of Skepticism: A Letter to Clueless Celebrity Investors)

“What I’m not into is the tribalistic aspect of it—people trying to corner bits of the market, and put their face on it. That’s just commercial bullshit. We hire people to do that for us rather than having to do that ourselves. We just want to play music, and I don’t want to align myself with Spotify, Beats, TIDAL, or whatever. We want people to listen to our music in their most comfortable way, and if they’re not up for paying for it, I don’t really care.”

Gibbard had similar criticisms, going as far to declare TIDAL dead on arrival. “If I had been Jay Z, I would have brought out ten artists that were underground or independent and said, ‘These are the people who are struggling to make a living in today’s music industry. Whereas this competitor streaming site pays this person 15 cents for X amount of streams, that same amount of streams on my site, on TIDAL, will pay that artist this much,’” Gibbard explained to The Daily Beast. “I think they totally blew it by bringing out a bunch of millionaires and billionaires and propping them up onstage and then having them all complain about not being paid.”

“There was a wonderful opportunity squandered to highlight what this service would mean for artists who are struggling and to make a plea to people’s hearts and pocketbooks to pay a little more for this service that was going to pay these artists a more reasonable streaming rate,” he continued. “And they didn’t do it. That’s why this thing is going to fail miserably.”

Read Colin McLauglin’s Aux.Out. essay on TIDAL.

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