Both Mumford & Sons and Death Cab For Cutie’s Ben Gibbard have spoken out against Jay Z’s new Tidal streaming service, questioning whether the site really has the best interests of smaller artists in mind.
Mumford & Sons frontman Marcus Mumford told The Daily Beast that, although his group wasn’t asked to join the cadre of celebrities that publicly launched Tidal, it “wouldn’t have joined it anyway, even if they had asked,” saying his band isn’t interested in being “tribal.” Mumford also says he thinks smaller bands should get a bigger share of Tidal’s payouts, since “bigger bands have other ways of making money,” noting that “a band of [Mumford’s] size shouldn’t be complaining.” Mumford & Sons’ Winston Marshall also spoke out in the same interview, saying Tidal owners are “new school fucking plutocrats,” and that bands should figure out ways to adapt to streaming by diversifying their musical portfolios, whether that’s through playing more shows or creating different ways to appreciate the songs. As Marshall told The Daily Beast, he’s “not into” the “tribalistic aspect” of Tidal, “people trying to corner bits of the market, and put their face on it.” He calls that “commercial bullshit,” something he says his group is content to hire people to do so that their fans can “listen to our music in the most comfortable way, and if they’re not up for paying for it, I don’t really care.”
Gibbard had similar criticisms, telling The Daily Beast he thought Jay Z “blew it by bringing a bunch of millionaires and billionaires and propping them up onstage and then having them all complain about not being paid.” Gibbard went on with his logical argument, saying that if he were Jay Z, he “would have brought out 10 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 said he thinks Jay Z’s inability to lay out his site’s actual figures will lead to Tidal’s miserable failure, though he says the rapper had a “wonderful opportunity” to let casual music fans know “what this service would mean for artists who are struggling.”