#BRANDFAIL OF THE WEEK: Tidal
Tidal ‘puts the power back in the artists hands’ is what the star-studded owners told us at the launch.
They are ‘taking back control’. Giving people ‘a higher level of product’. They are ‘educating the audience on what good should sound like’. They are offering ‘unique experiences and content (the only bit that’s perhaps feasible and worth any premium). They are ‘The Avengers of Music’, who together oversaw an ill thought through launch.
If you don’t feel like watching the whole thing, skip to around 16:30 and watch their laughable combined attempt to ‘sell’ Tidal.
At today’s prices, Tidal is twice as expensive as Spotify in the USA. Whilst I appreciate the need for artistic control, let’s not pretend that’s what this is really about. It’s about cold hard cash (which as we all know thanks to Madonna, is always Mr. Right). The artists get less revenue from streaming. The radio landscape continues to evolve. Sales for most artists aren’t what they use to be (which places even more pressure on them to tour to bring in the big money).
It’s well documented most of the multi-millionaire Tidal crew aren’t happy about streaming. But is this really the answer in 2015? Whoever helped them craft their well polished boo hoo lines missed a trick. They should have majored on doing this for the future. The starving artists struggling to get by. The ones the record companies / streaming leave behind. The talent who won’t benefit from the financial breaks they had. The talent they want to nurture and support. The talent you can support. The talent we all can all support by choosing Tidal.
Had they chosen to position this around helping artists, it might have stood a chance. But as it stands, it’s made them all look like a horribly out of touch wealthy elite. A bit like another gaggle of SW1 inhabitants that will keep bothering us till May 7th…
Iain G. Morrison is a senior marketer in the third sector. And will be sticking with Spotify for the forseeable…
BRAND OF THE WEEK: Madonna
Been a while since I did brand of the week. And after the halftime show at the NFL Superbowl, this weeks brand of the week goes to the very spritely at 53, Madonna.
The press (miming aside), have been almost universal in their praise. Upshot? Queen of Pop comes back to reclaim crown. Gaga who?
Much whipping of excitement, just before an album launch. My, how convenient. But of course it is. Madonna has always been a master manipulator. Even more Machiavellian than the Dark Lord Cowell himself.
So what was so genius about the performance?
If you ask me, not much. The sheer spectacle and staging were impressive. But her marketing masterstroke? A youthful shot in the arm for her tired, fading brand / star (delete as applicable), courtesy of the young guns.
LMFAO. Nicki Minaj. MIA. Cee Lo Green. And the bouncy internet superstar gymnast. Quite the supporting cast list.
By appearing on stage and paying their dues to pop’s Queen, they send word to their legion of fans. This old-lady star is worthy. They extend to her their own credibility. Their cool. The sneaky and subversive message to their younger fan base.
Look at me performing with Madonna. This is a woman I love. And you should too.
It’s one of the commodities she craves the most. That and an Oscar for film. But let’s be honest. That’s never going to happen. So, for my money, here are marks out of ten for the performance.
- Likelihood the album will go straight in to number 1 in many countries: 10/10
- Jay Leno ad: 7/10, for being relatively amusing
- The guest stars: 9.5/10, very well cast. All played their supporting roles exceptionally well (short of getting on their knees and chanting ‘we’re not worthy).
- The miming: 2/10, because after all the practise, she should be a hell of a lot better at it than that
- The dancing: 5/10, as she’s starting to look like she needs cod liver injections into all moving joints that haven’t been filled.
- The surgery: 4.5/10, because it’s starting to get more than a little creepy
- Likelihood Gaga will do something massively outrageous to try and reclaim headlines: A very tiresome 10/10
- The macrobioticness: 0/10. S’just too try hard…
Iain G. Morrison remembers the scene from In bed with Madonna where they all joked about Madonna still writhing about to Like a Virgin at 50. Oh how they all laughed….
Madonna vs. Gaga
Time for a little musical frippery, courtesy of CharlieHidesTV.
Favourite line: ‘My name is Madonna and I’ve not been relevant in five years’…
Pre-packaged pop is the musical equivalent to junk food. Often fills, rarely satiates. I’d rather have me an Adele / Winehouse sandwich…
Iain G. Morrison is the head of marketing for leisure’s most succesful social enterprise. And if he were a betting man, I’d have a fiver on Madonna being gutted Gaga came along before she had a chance to launch Lourdes…
I’ll have my Madonna with Duck Sauce…
I know it’s not Friday, but as I’m off work this week, every day has that Friday feeling (sorry). Most people know that Madonna’s older stuff is her best.
With a new album in the pipeline, I’m reminded of one of the few stand-out funny moments in her infamous documentary ‘In bed with Madonna’, where they joke about her still grabbing her crotch and writhing around on stage to ‘Like a Virgin’ when she’s 50.
Anyhoo, to my favourite mash-up of some time. The storming 90’s Madonna classic ‘Vogue’ meets Barbra Streisand?
I’d definitely order my next portion of Madonna with Duck Sauce on the side…
Iain G. Morrison is still recuperating. And looking forward to watching George Osbourne claim he has a genuine growth strategy in the 2011 budget…
King of Pop in heart attack shocker…
When I bought tickets to see what someone in the office dubbed pop’s paedo prince (he stopped being the King of Pop in the early 90’s), I was chuffed.
I didn’t get the opening night, but I got the next best thing. The closing night.
His last gig at the O2 in London. Brilliant. Then, it hit me.
He probably won’t do all of them, it’s highly likely some’ll get cancelled.
If I’m not in there early, what are the odds on me seeing him at all?
Well, the breaking news this evening, is that he’s ALLEGEDLY suffered a heart attack at his home in Los Angeles this and was rushed to hospital (no doubt with a rather large entourage in tow).
When the first few shows were delayed, AEG said this was in order to make sure everything for the ‘massive and technically complex show’ was running smoothly.
There was also some bull about Madonna’s technically complex show crossing over, and there wasn’t time to reset stages.
But the bitter disbelieving cynics out there (myself included) wonder if the ongoing drip feeding to the media of health stories, are the real reason behind the gigs being postponed, and possibly cancelled without a protracted, expensive lawsuit.
The plot thickens…
Iain Morrison is a senior marketer in the British Tourism Industry. And is glad he didn’t buy his tickets to the show from a tout…
The greatest social climber since Cinderella…
Don’t panic, I’m not going all Lloyd-Webber on you, promise! However…
If you have become embroiled in any of the hype surrounding Lady Gaga, you’d be forgiven for thinking that her debut album would:
A) change your life
B) reinvigorate the world of pop
C) make you more attractive to members of the opposite / same sex (dependant on preference)
D) all of the above
How disappointed was I then (hoping for at least a smidgen of D), that the album (of some 16 tracks) had 3, perhaps four tracks which were just OK. Not amazing, life-changing slices of pop perfection in all it’s glory.
No stand-out pop-anthems, a few signs of promise, but nothing to warrant all the hype surrounding the US’s latest pop export. But what she does represent, is a shining example in how successful PR in the music industry really can make a massive difference.
With pop stars, there is a greater than average importance on the attitude (which she has in abundance, not many popstrels perform in their bikinis, which opens up a whole new can of worms with the feminists, not going there today!).
Journo’s have been waxing lyrical about her (and occasionaly her music), which goes to show that both she and her people really get the importance of media manipulation. But call me old fashioned. The songs go a long way in maintaining the career of any wannabe popstrel.
For every Madonna, there is 100 desperate fame hungry rejects consigned to the pop dustbin weekly, that no amount of PR (or jungle loving a la Katie Price) will help…
My advice? If you haven’t already, buy LadyHawke’s album instead.
Iain Morrison is a senior marketer in the British Tourism Industry. And thinks the aforementioned Lady is more Googoo than Gaga…