Tyler, The Creator criticises Jay Z’s ‘weird’ Tidal launch

Odd Future rapper says star-studded event needed an 'underdog' to line-up alongside A list stars

Tyler, The Creator has said that while he agrees with the ideas behind Jay Z’s streaming service Tidal, he felt the array of big name stars present at its launch “came off as weird”.

Tidal launched last month (March 30), with the likes of Kanye West, Madonna, Beyoncé, Rihanna, Arcade Fire, Jack White, Daft Punk and more all attending the launch and signing an official Tidal charter, making them co-owners.

Speaking to Billboard, the Odd Future artist said that using so many high profile artists was not the best way to win people over.

“I get the concept of artists taking their shit instead of having that weird middle man,” he said. “But because he got all of the biggest names in the world, it came off as weird. I think that’s why people were turned off. He gotta get an underdog in there that’s not all Number Ones to say, ‘Hey guys, I’m kind of one of you, this is actually kinda cool.’ That’s all they gotta do, because the idea makes sense.”

Tyler, the Creator is the latest big name star to criticise Tidal and the way in which it launched. Jay Z has claimed that the platform will be more beneficial for artists, but many have voiced their criticism of the company’s royalty structure since its initial launch.

Steve Albini called Tidal a “budget version of Pono”, Neil Young’s high-definition music player, while Death Cab For Cutie‘s frontman Ben Gibbard complained that the launch event “was a wonderful opportunity squandered” and instead of highlighting emerging or struggling musicians, saw a “bunch of millionaires and billionaires” onstage “complaining about not being paid”.

Gibbard’s comments echo that of Mumford & Sons, who recently said that they “wouldn’t have joined [Tidal] even if they had asked” due its bias towards popular artists.

Lily Allen also criticised Tidal. Allen said earlier in April: “I love Jay Z so much, but Tidal is [so] expensive compared to other perfectly good streaming services… He’s taken the biggest artists and made them exclusive to Tidal… people are going to swarm back to pirate sites in droves sending traffic to torrent sites.”

One month after launching, the Tidal app has proven unpopular with users and slipped out of the 700 most downloaded apps in the US. Things are not much better in the UK either, where the app is not in the top 500 of the iOS and Google Play Store charts.

The company also parted ways with its chief executive, Andy Chen. Chen was the CEO of Tidal’s parent company Aspiro when it was purchased by Jay Z in March. He has been replaced by former CEO Peter Tonstad.