One by one, they took their places next to each other: the leading lady, the masked man, a duo in metallic suits–eighteen in all–and, in the middle, dressed in all black, their leader.
This was not a sneak peek of The Avengers: Age of Ultron. Rather, it was the launch of Tidal, the streaming service Jay Z recently purchased for some $56 million and is rapidly attempting to shape into a direct competitor to Spotify, Rdio and the like.
Alicia Keys strode to the stage, followed by a genre-spanning group of acts identified as “owners”–Arcade Fire, Beyoncé, Calvin Harris (via satellite), Chris Martin (ditto), Daft Punk, Jack White, Jason Aldean, J. Cole, Jay Z (who paused for effect before his entrance), Kanye West, Deadmau5, Madonna, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna and Usher.
Though Jay Z is the clear leader of the endeavor, it was Alicia Keys who did the bulk of the talking.
“Wow,” said Keys upon taking the podium. “This is incredible, this is so powerful. And I think all of us collectively in this room are feeling the same kind of energy … look how we can all do this together.”
She explained that today marked the launch of Tidal, which she described as “the first ever artist-owned global music and entertainment platform.” According to Keys, the goal of the venture is simple: to create a better music service and a better listening experience for fans and artists alike.
After quoting Nietzsche (“Without music, life would be a mistake”) and calling for “the beginning of a whole new era,” she called the artists up to sign a document. Each did so with a flourish–Daft Punk, somehow, with metal gloves; Madonna while putting her leg on table; Usher touching his nose for some reason.
But it was the ensuing sizzle-reel video that offered the most insight into the thoughts of the acts involved. West spoke of “owning our oil,” while Harris praised Tidal’s focus on audio quality: “You tell people what they’re getting and they’re going to hear the difference.” Jay Z weighed in, of course, too.
Read more at Forbes.