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It’s not too late to turn the tide.
It comes as no surprise—save, perhaps, to its multimillionaire celebrity backers—that Jay Z’s would-be Spotify-killer, Tidal, hasn’t made a dent in the streaming music market. It’s the sort of thing that generally happens to new businesses that charge more than their established competitors while offering little in the way of advanced features (or functional basic ones).
Is all lost just three weeks after the app’s fanfare launch? Not necessarily. Jay Z may have 99 problems, but Tidal is just one. Here’s how he could turn this unmitigated disaster around.
Roughly 90 percent of people who heard about Tidal had the same reaction: “You mean like the laundry detergent?” No, that would be Tide. Nonetheless, the names are similar, and Tidal is largely unknown—which means rebranding remains a viable option. Why not combine forces with a trusted Procter & Gamble product whose social media game is so on fleek?
2) Divorce Beyoncé
The single biggest obstacle in Jay Z’s quest to become a kingpin on the scale of Donald Trump or Mark Cuban? The ol’ ball-and-chain. All due respect to his wife, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, but she hasn’t done much since Destiny’s Child disbanded in 2005, and for some reason America seems to despise her. Once Jay finally manages to move on from this doomed relationship, he’ll be free to marry Tidal, his glamorous, A-list music app.
People will never understand how much I hate Beyoncé..
— JAY (@OVOJALEN) April 17, 2015
3) Hype an exclusive premiere of Memphis Bleek’s The Process
Long marketed as Jay Z’s brilliant protégé and the next hip-hop superstar, Memphis Bleek’s singles have cracked the Billboard Hot 100 just twice. His last album, 534, was tepidly reviewed, and his follow-up, The Process, has been “in the works” for a decade, so you know it’s straight fire. With the world on pins and needles as they await its indefinitely postponed release, Jay can capitalize on the buzz—or use Memphis as a scapegoat.
Hov about to blame Tidal on Memphis Bleek
— Mensah Demary (@mensah4000) April 22, 2015
4) Drop an apology album
Rappers are always talking a big game about grindin’ and staying on top; perhaps it’s time Hova flipped the script and spat some humility. After all, the only thing we like more than a triumphalist narrative is the schadenfreude of seeing someone crash and burn. He could even go experimental and record backing tracks composed of nothing but fart sounds (with guest Gene Belcher from Bob’s Burgers). The title practically pitches itself: Magna Farta… Holy Fail.
5) Harness the Tidal power of the moon
Tidal needs to go big or go home. Like, James Bond villain big. The ultra-wealthy musicians behind it could easily combine their capital to fund a massive gravity-manipulation ray that leverages the moon’s influence over ocean currents in order to extort entire coastal cities—and Kanye—into subscribing to the service (or face the consequence of drowning in a flash flood if they dare refuse). Why shouldn’t climate change benefit Madonna?
6) Invent time travel
If all else fails, Jay should look into the possibility of time travel (or “chronological disruption,” as the Silicon Valley startup set would have it). Aside from being a decent market play in its own right, this technology would give him the opportunity to return to the moment he decided to set all his money on fire by investing it in a poorly designed app that absolutely no one wanted—and shoot his former self in the face. Straight gangsta.
A $20 Tidal subscription will get you unlimited streaming and a call from Jay Z telling you everything is fine with Tidal. That’s value!
— Andrew Shaw BSc (@AndrewShaw81) April 24, 2015
Miles Klee is a novelist and web culture reporter. The former editor of the Daily Dot’s Unclick section, Klee’s essays, satire, and fiction have appeared in Lapham’s Quarterly, Vanity Fair, 3:AM, Salon, the Awl, the New York Observer, the Millions, and the Village Voice. He's the author of two odd books of fiction, 'Ivyland' and 'True False.'