The Music Streaming Wars Are Already Here

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The music streaming wars, from Beats to Spotify to now Jay Z. And a chat with graphic memoirist Alison Bechdel.

Madonna, Deadmau5, Kanye West and Jay Z at a press conference  announcing the debut of Tidal, an artist-owned music streaming service,  on Monday, March 30, 2015. (Courtesy Tidal)
Madonna, Deadmau5, Kanye West and Jay Z at a press conference announcing the debut of Tidal, an artist-owned music streaming service, on Monday, March 30, 2015. (Courtesy Tidal)

We love our music, and these days listeners expect it anywhere, anytime and often for free. Music just streaming, over the Internet. And now, the streaming wars are on.  Big streamers.  New streamers.  Spotify, Apple and Beats, racheting up. Jay Z is launching Tidal, an artist-owned challenger, climbing into the ring. This hour On Point: the music-streaming wars, and where they take artists, music, musical tastes, and you. Plus, we’ll talk with the great cartoonist Alison Bechdel, on her graphic memoir “Fun Home” going to Broadway.
-- Tom Ashbrook


Kelsey McKinney, entertainment and culture reporter at Vox. (@mckinneykelsey)

Spencer Kornhaber, pop culture and music writer at the Atlantic. (@skornhaber)

From Tom’s Reading List

The Atlantic: Tidal: Long Live Millionaire Musicians — "What makes this movement great, or even a movement? Not totally clear. Tidal’s a lot like Spotify or Rdio or perhaps Apple's much-rumored forthcoming new service: Pay a subscription, get unlimited access to a vast chunk of all the music ever recorded. What’s different is the proprietary content (music, videos, articles, playlists) and a $20-a-month 'hi-fi' option that provides lossless sound quality. There’s also a $10-a-month tier that doesn’t provide the lossless audio; that's the the same cost as a Spotify premium membership, though unlike Spotify, there's no ad-supported option to listen for free."

Vox: Jay Z's Tidal claims to be the future of streaming. But is it? — "On its most basic tier, Tidal doesn't sound or look all that different from Spotify. Users can create playlists, set up a song queue, and access songs directly. The only distinctive aspect at this level is the ability to access music videos. This could give artists another platform on which to debut videos, instead of having to use Vevo, the YouTube-based music video site jointly owned by Universal Music, Sony Music, Google, and Abu Dhabi Media. But there's one big difference from Spotify."

Billboard: Tidal Addresses the Backlash: 'There's So Much More to Do' — "Tidal's re-launch, press event and overall message haven't been a complete success. Much of the public and media were either cynical or confused that 16 wealthy musicians demanding higher royalties were leading a Castro-style takeover of a subscription service. A nod to the Cuban Revolution isn't out of place here, especially given the tone of Alicia Keys' speech at Monday's press event."

Graphic Memoirist Allison Bechdel’s “Fun Home” Hits Broadway

Alison Bechdel, graphic memoirist and MacArthur 'Genius' fellow. Author of "Fun Home" — soon to be a Broadway musical — and "Are You My Mother?" (@alisonbechdel)

Vanity FairFun Home, the Musical That Digs into the Bechdel Test Creator’s Bond with Her Father — "Alison Bechdel, best known for her eponymous test for works of fiction—to pass which at least two female characters must talk to each other about something other than men—explored her relationship with her father in the 2006 graphic memoir Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic. (Parallels all but ended at sexual preference: 'I was Spartan to my father’s Athenian. Modern to his Victorian. Butch to his nelly. Utilitarian to his aesthete.') An inventive musical adaptation by Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron comes to the Circle in the Square Theatre April 19 following an Off Broadway run at the Public Theater in 2013."

This program aired on April 3, 2015.


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