In addition to producing Nirvana’s In Utero, Steve Albini has worked with some pretty epic metal bands, including High On Fire, Helmet, Neurosis, and Weedeater. So when Albini comments on the “next big music streaming service,” it’s best to pay attention.
Tidal, the new mega-star owned, hi-fi, music streaming service, is the latest internet media darling, and Albini isn’t too impressed, telling Vulture, “if you want your music to play at the push of a button, convenience is going to trump sound quality 100 percent of the time.”
Basically meaning this; a ripped YouTube stream can be more popular than whatever service – or site – has the exclusive stream. And this can only hurt the artists that are walled off from the internet at large.
“The for-pay services are deluding themselves by trying to establish a permanent monetization of something that’s in flux,” he says. “The internet provides access to materials and things. Creating these little streaming fiefdoms where certain streaming services have certain artists and certain streaming services have other artists is a crippled use of the internet. If the internet has demonstrated anything over the years, it’s that it has a way of breaking limitations placed on its content.”
Consider when Ensiferum premiered One Man Army on Spotify; what if you’re not a Spotify user? (Hint: it’s on YouTube, and it wasn’t uploaded by Metal Blade). And what if you love Metallica but you use Rdio? You’re out of luck, but they’ve been on Spotify since 2012.
Will Tidal pan out? Albini doesn’t seem ready to bet on them, but he does admit to using Spotify radio: “The High on Fire channel is excellent if you want background music for poker.”