It's been about a month now since music streaming service and Spotify/Pandora competitor TIDAL launched with much fanfare, including an over-the-top yet dreadfully dull press conference with some of music's top stars (Jay-Z, Madonna, Rihanna, Beyonce, Kanye). Most looked like they were embarrassed or bored to be there. Madonna acted out (shock!) as she approached the table to sign the "declaration of independence" for the music industry. Sadly, it was the highlight of the ego-fest:
Last week it was reported the app had already fallen out of the top 700 downloaded iphone apps chart.
We downloaded it and were disappointed immediately in what we saw - and the lack of a freemium model for us to get into it. A 30 day free trial is offered, but you have to enter your credit card information? We all know the frustration that will bring when we forget to cancel.
All of this leads us to ask: What were they thinking? Oh wait... maybe they weren't. Here's a few reasons why:
1. A main selling point of the service has been "high fidelity music streaming." With the quality of speakers today and the lowering cost of even a Bose portable speaker, does anyone actually feel the audio quality of digital music is so bad that it's worth paying $24 a month? (Standard sound quality is only $12 a month, the same as Spotify). High Fidelity is the same as "CD quality" --- problem is, most Gen Ys today don't have a strong recollection of what a CD sounded like. And how did they pick those prices? It feels like someone just said "High Fidelity? Double it." as the pricing strategy.
2. The positioning of the brand as a revolutionary new service ("the future of music" was uttered multiple times) that is going to save the music industry feels pompous and quite frankly, satisfying no real need. Comparing yourself to a revolution before it's even begun is pretty foolhardy. People don't buy into such bombastic statements anymore. We're too smart and sceptical.
3. #TIDALforALL as the official hashtag doesn't feel much like a manifesto for democracy but more like a command from marketers to consumers. It wants to be democratic but the launch event felt aristocratic. It would've been better to bring independent musicians onto the stage, or had each celebrity partner with an up and coming artist so that we would feel our money was going to someone who needs it.
We can't help but think this entire service, and the go-to-market strategy, was designed without any consumer co-creation or collaboration / feedback. Did they test the idea? Did they test MULTIPLE ideas? Did they speak with consumers currently using Spotify and Pandora to see what their Achilles heels were?
This is all stuff that a bit of research and insights could've helped predict... and prevent.
You don't need to be an insights professional to be able to read this body language!