Tidal co-owner Jack White has posted a quasi-FAQ to his Third Man Records’ website, answering questions mostly about his motivation behind teaming up with Jay Z for the streaming service. His chief point was that people should not take for granted what it means to support a musician. A representative for White told Rolling Stone that the questions were submitted by members of Third Man Records’ subscription service The Vault.
“Don’t devalue musicians, man; support them,” he wrote in response to an ostensible fan complaining about Tidal charging a premium for music. “Making records is expensive, believe us. I don’t see people saying we should go to the movies for free, or Netflix should be free. That state of music is in flux. Be on the side of supporting creativity, not taking from it. This gives you that chance.”
He also shrugged off the notion that Tidal is just making Jay Z and his megastar “minions” wealthier. “It’s not about the rich getting richer,” White wrote. “It takes artists that can get people’s attention to be able to make a scenario possible for those artists that don’t have a voice to get in a position where they aren’t struggling, and believe me Third Man Records is full of artists the mainstream’s never heard of and have no voice or power in the system.”
In other answers, the singer said he hoped to get the entire Third Man catalog up on the service and championed getting full discographies of some of the artists he looked up to on the program. “Loretta Lynn recorded something like 90 albums,” he wrote. “How many can you acquire or stream digitally? Four? Six? Where are the other 80-plus?”
Ultimately, White said he felt the service will help champion artists of all sizes, shouting out the “punk band that has 50,000 hits on YouTube and doesn’t see a dime.” He also wrote, “I’m aiming to get unknown artists paid so that they can make more music.”
Tidal has gotten off to a rocky start, since White, Jay Z and a bevy of chart-topping hit-makers announced themselves as co-owners of the streaming service in March. Less than a month later, the company’s CEO left the company. Around that same time, the app also dropped out of the iTunes store’s top 750 downloads, prompting Jay Z to tweet, “We are here for the long haul.”
Additionally, Tidal is facing stronger competition. This week, Spotify has built up its service to include video (which Tidal offers) and has teamed with Starbucks for a reciprocal marketing agreement in which baristas play Spotify in stores and music streamers get coffee-buying rewards points. Moreover, Apple is expected to relaunch Beats this summer.