Yesterday I thought to myself, “Beyoncé is the Amazon Prime of Tidal”. She really got thousands (hundreds of thousands? millions?) of BeyHive members to sign up for Tidal last March. And then she let them spend, at minimum, $119.88 on the platform before giving them what they wanted, her album. In between, there was: one exclusive song/video (“Die for You”), the Tidal X 10/20 Benefit Concert, the video for Nicki Minaj’s “Feelin’ Myself” (which features Beyoncé), and “Formation” (but that was also simultaneously released, albeit unlisted, on YouTube). If Glengarry Glen Ross was made in 2016 and was focused on marketing rather than real estate, Alec Baldwin’s infamous mantra would be Always Be Subscribing. Beyoncé gets this.
On second thought, Beyoncé would be the Amazon Prime of Tidal if she ever made her work exclusive to the platform, indefinitely. As in, not making her albums (visual or otherwise) available for sale on iTunes, Amazon, or in physical formats such as the CD and vinyl records. It’s moderately risky but the BeyHive just might be loyal enough to pull that off. I mean, they signed up for Tidal on the hope that she’d release new music and—the most surprising part here—they continued to pay for the service despite not really ever getting any Beyoncé exclusives and continued to hope and waited a year to get a new album. The 2016 Beyoncé is AIDA personified. She’s that good at marketing.
Panic ensued when I thought I’d have to get a subscription to Tidal just to listen to LEMONADE. Can you imagine? Black women everywhere choreographing new dance moves and belting “YAAAASSSSSSSSSS!” in unison over and over to new Beyonce music and me, all alone, left out in the cold, unknowing because I refused to sign up for a new music streaming service when I was already paying for two others. Thank God it was on iTunes the next day. On the flip side, I almost went broke last week buying the digital versions of a few Prince albums (okay, all of them). I probably could’ve saved some money and streamed some of the albums on one of the two streaming services I pay for each month. But his catalog is only available on Tidal. Prince is the Amazon Prime of Tidal for Baby Boomers. These streaming platforms are power. Someone should tell the record labels that.
Streaming is the Amazon Prime of the music industry. Last year, digital music accounted for 45% of revenue for the global music industry (physical sales brought in 39% of revenue). Streaming brought in an impressive $2.9 billion. As a kid who came up on Napster (RIP), I am very pleased to see the way the industry is trending. Although, I definitely did not see an artist such as Wiz Khalifa having the #1 digital single for 2015. Certainly not for a song like “See You Again”. And if you were to tell me that The Weeknd would have a global top 10 album (it was #10) I would’ve laughed at you.
“I believe the global music industry has successfully emerged from digital disruption – and the future is bright.”
—EDGAR BERGER, Chairman and CEO, Sony Music Entertainment
Anyway, did you know that there’s a McDonald’s in Missouri aiming to become the Amazon Prime of french fries? I’m not entirely sure how this works but unlimited french fries are involved. As California’s leading french fry connoisseur, this news both excites and worries me. I’m excited because, duh, french fries. But I’m frightened because using McDonald’s french fries as bait can only lead to some questionable dieting habits and possible health complications. It’s a gamble we all take.
So, I guess the moral of today’s musings are: have a product or offering people can subscribe to and always be subscribing. Another takeaway is that I really like Amazon Prime. If you don’t have the service yet, I strongly recommend.