Review: TIDAL X: 1020 Was The Best Advertisement For The Streaming Service Thus Far

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When you hear the news that TIDAL is hosting a concert featuring its all-star group of owners, you might be looking forward to one big advertisement. But that was not the case on Tuesday night (Oct. 20) when the likes of Jay Z, Beyonce, Lil Wayne and Usher took the stage at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. As the audience was hit with a barrage of star power, “Please subscribe to TIDAL” was not the takeaway message of “TIDAL X: 1020” – at least not overtly.

For starters, it would have been hard to let a plug sink in with such a healthy stack of mini-sets. Each performer held court for no more than three songs (sans Meek Mill, who was joined by Rick Ross, French Montana and DJ Khaled for a hood anthem medley). The three-hour long concert was like a hor d’oeuvres platter with enough selections to leave you as full as a main course. This aided in variety, quality, and experience, all of which TIDAL’s brand stands for. But instead of telling us, this time they showed us, which turned out to be a better marketing strategy than their first on-stage presentation.

Since its rebranded inception, TIDAL has faced a number of challenges, from CEO musical chairs, to falling out of the top 750 apps, to criticism about its royalty-concerned owners and relatively expensive pricing. The slander weighed so heavily on Jay Z that he engaged in two things he rarely does: tweeting, and explaining himself. In a “stream of consciousness,” the mogul took time out his likely very busy day to drop some #TidalFacts:

Five months later, Jay Z took to Twitter yet again to announce TIDAL X: 1020, a celebration for TIDAL’s now one million subscribers. But it also cleverly masqueraded a as play for more growth. The night had its pack-a-punch moments, including Nicki Minaj and Beyonce’s first live performance of “Feeling Myself,” Jay Z and Lil Wayne’s borough greeting, “Hello Brooklyn,” Fabolous and Jay Z’s hometown hero salute with “Brooklyn,” Usher and Nas’ call to action against police brutality with “Chains,” and The Carters dark and luxurious rendition of “Holy Grail.” T.I. was even brought along for the ride. TIDAL dangled its access to big names like a treat for good behavior, but etched on the reward was a glorious subliminal: its lightly embossed four-square logo.

#VIBEonSite | That one time @beyonce and @nickiminaj made the world STOP. Carry on… #TidalX1020

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#VIBEonSite | #JayZ and @myfabolouslife put on for their city at #TidalX1020

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#VIBEonSite | Behold, @beyonce’s ponytail and fur cape for “Holy Grail” at #TidalX1020

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Nestled between performances from the vets was also TIDAL’s co-signing of a group of newcomers: Alessia Cara, Bas, Justine Skye, Flatbush Zombies, Benjamin Booker and Hit-Boy. Attempting to stake claim as an authority for what’s next the streaming service hit the throngs of people in attendance with a hint that it was also current and cutting-edge. And if that wasn’t enough to make a potential consumer trust its judgement, TIDAL added a new artist owner to its roster in Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley, and announced its foyer into streaming the popular Web series: Money & Violence. The concert even managed to premiere new music, with Hit-Boy calling on A$AP Ferg for a never-before-heard track.

#VIBEonSite | In case you missed it, @damianjrgongmarley is the latest Artist Owner at @tidal. #TidalX1020

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#VIBEonSite | @hitboy and @asapferg premiered a new track at #TidalX1020. Feel free to hit your dab.

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The fact of the matter is, “high fidelity music streaming,” and “expertly curated content and editorial, and unique experiences” means nothing to a cheapskate who uses Spotify for free, or an Apple loyalist who trusts Tim Cook and company with his technological life. TIDAL figured out that we needed receipts, and finally gave us proof of purchase.

Tags: Tidal, TIdal X