Tidal Launch

30-tidal-1.nocrop.w529.h373.2xThere’s a new music subscription for the public to access, but this time its backed by the stars. Jay-Z announced that he would be relaunching Tidal. Now there’s Spotify which is $9.99/month. Then there’s Beats Music  that’s $9.99/month and allows access for up to three devices. Now when I heard of Tidal I was thinking, great another music subscription. When I saw the price I knew that I wouldn’t want to sign up. $19.99 for a music subscription? What makes it so special? What am I getting in addition to the cheaper alternatives already available? 30-tidal-2.nocrop.w529.h373.2xThis star-studded announcement that included the likes of: Jay-Z & Beyonce (of course), Kanye West, Usher, J. Cole, Alicia Keys, Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, Madonna, and more. I paid this no mind until Beyoncé released a new single via the site titled,’Die For You .’ How appropriate as it is the 7th wedding anniversary of her and Jay-Z. Click HERE to listen to the track.

When going on to the site you reach a screen that states what Tidal is:

Introducing the first music streaming service that combines the best High Fidelity sound quality, High Definition music videos and expertly Curated Editorial.

Again, that doesn’t really define much of what I’d possibly be paying $19.99/month for. You could “listen now” or enter a voucher which I’m curious to know what that is. Now when going to start a free trial there are two options, Tidal Premium ($9.99/month) and Tidal HiFi ($19.99/month). From the looks of it the only difference between the two seems to be the quality of sound. When asked (in an interview with NYU) if Tidal was competing with Spotify, Jay-Z commented:

I know everyone thinks “new company, main business competitor is Spotify” but we’re really not here to compete with anyone. We’re actually here to improve the landscape. If just the presence of TIDAL causes other companies to have better pay structure, or to pay more attention to it moving forward, then we’ve been successful in one way. So we don’t really view them as competitors. As the tide rises, all the boats rise.”

When asked who’d be McDonald’s or ShakeShack he responded:

“We’re cool with, you know, they [other streaming services] can be McDonald’s, we’ll be Shake Shack. We don’t have to be number one, we just want to be very specific and very great at what we do. We want to do a very specific thing, we want people to come to TIDAL for a specific sound, a specific experience, and to know that there are going to be the greatest new artists in the world, the biggest artists, introducing the newest artists, collaborations and things you’ve never seen before. That’s what we’re going to do. After that, the world decides. The universe decides.”

As for my thoughts on this whole Tidal movement, I’m not sold on this. I see this as just another music subscription service except with a punch. The punch is that the artists are behind it and paying subscribers can have access to exclusives such as the one released by Beyoncé. Also available on the site right now are exclusives from. I’m interested in seeing where this goes. This does go hand in hand with that of the Grammy Creators Alliance which wants artists to get the respect they deserve. Whether people subscribe or not, artists have joined together for their music to be respected.

Grammy Creators Alliance

There was an initiative launched last night at the 57th annual Grammy Awards (click HERE for my review) to launch a new initiative, Grammy’s Creator Alliance.

The GRAMMY Creators Alliance is a program of The Recording Academy, a non-profit membership organization representing songwriters, performers and studio professionals.

This could not come at a more perfect time when I am researching just how much streaming, piracy, and paid subscriptions affect album sales. Oh the joy of grad school. I find the information that I am finding to be rather interesting. We live in an age where technology makes it so easy to access music whether its through streaming or music piracy. In this digital age it is much easier and cheaper for consumers to just download the song whether it be from YouTube or a blog. Unfortunately, this is not putting any money in the artists pockets.

From a consumer perspective it can go as far as to say that the artists have enough money as is, but think of it from an ethical standpoint. They put time in to make music that they hope their fans will enjoy and buy. It’s their livelihood and yes it does make them quite a nice salary, but there’s a team behind every project. Those team members have to be paid. Studio time isn’t free. I personally don’t see streaming as an issue because it gives consumers an option on whether to buy based off what they like. I also know that this age is disposable and listen to the same things over and over, radio is proof of that, and then that artist is tossed to the side.

Neil Portnow, President/CEO of the Recording Academy, stated:

At a recent congressional hearing, I made the case that any updates to the laws set how creators are paid-must strongly protect those who create the soundtrack to our lives

I do believe that artists should be paid fairly for their music that is just shuffled around from site to site. As noted it is their livelihood and fans show the upmost respect in supporting their favorite artists artistry by not pirating their music.

Here are the founding members:

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I’m interested in who else will join the initiative. Taylor Swift has spoken on this after pulling her music from Spotify. I expect her to stand along the other artists above in the near future. For more information, click HERE.

Single Review: Alicia Keys x Kendrick Lamar, ‘It’s On Again’

It’s been a very long time since I have liked ANY music that Alicia Keys has released solo wise or as a feature. This track?! I absolutely love. Kendrick starts off just lyrically slaying per usual. Alicia Keys takes to the mic for the remainder of the song with a Caribbean tone in her voice, but the song as a whole just WORKED. I absolutely love the track. I’ve really fallen in love with Kendrick’s artistry since his Grammy performance with Imagine Dragons. Yeah I know I can be considered late with how great of an artist he is, but that performance made me a believe. As for the song I will be listening to it some more, but I’m so pleased to hear an Alicia Keys track that I can put in rotation. It’s been too long. Oh and incase you didn’t know this track was produced by Skateboy P, Pharrell Williams.

Here’s what Alicia had to say about the track:

I’m very excited to be a part of such a powerful collaboration with Kendrick Lamar, Pharrell Williams and Hans Zimmer. This is the next chapter in the Spider-Man legacy and we really feel ‘It’s On Again’ captures the experience, the story—and most importantly—the meaning behind the film, which is that we all have the potential to be extraordinary. There’s a little bit of a super hero in all of us.

Pharrell added,

Hans has created an iconic score theme and it was exciting to collaborate with him again on this song. When I was making the song, I knew Alicia and Kendrick had to be on it. They take the song to a whole new level.

The track will be released via iTunes on April 1st and soundtrack will be released April 22nd. Be sure to check out the movie as well on May 2nd.

MMF Celebrates Black History in Music, Feb. 27

February 28th marked a day the rise of a singing superstar, Alicia Keys, and another artist solidified their acting career.

Alicia Keys took home 5 Grammys at the in 2002 at the 44th Annual Award show for her debut album, Songs In A Minor. Her Grammys that night included: Best New Artist, Best R&B Album Song of the Year, Best Female R&B Vocal Performance, and Best R&B Song all for ‘Fallin’.

Songs In A Minor has sold over 6.2 million copies in the U.S. and over 12 million worldwide. Her Grammy wins in 2002 made her the second woman to win 5 in one night.

Jamie Foxx was nominated in Both Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor at the 77th Academy Awards on February 27, 2005. He was the 10th actor to be nominated in both categories and took home Best Actor in a Leading role for his starring role in Ray.

In December of 2005, Jamie released his 2nd studio album, Unpredictable, and it peaked at #2 on the Billboard 200 with over 500,000 copies sold.

MMF Celebrates Black History in Music — Feb. 22

Today I wanted to explore some artists that may not even be known of or recognized and one of those are violin duo, Black Violin.

Black Violin consists of viola/violin players Will B and Kev Marcus who met in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida while playing in the high school orchestra. After graduating college they teamed up and became the hip-hop violin duo known as Black Violin. They have performed for the President, hit Broadway, and even took to the Billboard Awards stage in 2004 with Alicia Keys to perform ‘Karma’ and even teaming up with Gym Class Heroes to perform ‘Stereo Heart’ for VH1s Unplugged.

One of their most recent covers and my personal fav is Bruno Mars’, ‘Locked Out of Heaven’ mashed up with Michael Jackson’s ‘Beat It.’

Over the course of a decade the duo has performed approximately 200 shows in 49 states and 36 countries. On top of working with Alicia Keys and Gym Class Heroes they have collaborated with: P. Diddy, Kanye West, 50 Cent, Tom Petty, Aerosmith, Aretha Franklin, and The Eagles.

Black Violin is all about overcoming your obstacles and staying strong. It takes 10 years to become an overnight sensation. This is just the beginning for us. Our best selling point is, we could be anywhere in the world before any kind of audience, when we pull out our instruments, people stop what they’re doing and watch. We’re looking to break out of our own box and grow the brand. We’re living proof that people can overcome their obstacles and triumph. This is something new and fresh. We want people to see what we’re all about.

Wil B – Black Violin

Pharrell, G I R L, Album Tracklist

Pharrell recently announced that he’d be releasing an album March 3rd and the track listing has been released.

1. “Marilyn Monroe”
2. “Brand New” (feat. Justin Timberlake)
3. “Hunter”
4. “Gush”
5. “Happy”
6. “Come Get It” (feat. Miley Cyrus)
7. “Dust of Wind” (feat. Daft Punk)
8. “Lost Queen”
9. “Freq”
10. “I Know Who You Are” (feat. Alicia Keys)
11. “It Girl”

I’m interested in hearing these tracks since Pharrell says this is his best work to date. Expect a review of course.

NEW MUSIC — Alicia Keys, ‘Zebras and Airplanes’

I haven’t like an Alicia Keys track in a very long time. Her voice seems to stretch out every note at times and it takes away from the track, for me personally. Never to take away from her talent, but her music doesn’t seem the same as it once was. That all comes with growth as an artist and having more control with your work. Even though this song was written 5 years ago, it’s beautiful. 

Here’s what she had to say about the track:

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Take a listen below: