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A Story Of How Not To Fail

Updated: Mar 14

Why TIDAL Didn't Make Waves With Its Customers, And A Lesson For All Business Owners To Learn From


(Image credit: https://themusicnetwork.com/reports-jay-z-selling-tidal/)


TIDAL is / was the brainchild of music and business superstar Jay Z, but if you're wondering why you may not have heard of it before, there's a good for reason for that, and a great lesson for us business owners to be humble enough to respect that we are not heroes just because we provide an incredible service / product.


Our customers are, and always will be the heroes.


Jay Z self-invested $56,000,000 with a mission to: "Get everyone to respect music again."


Definitely a worthy a mission, and something the majority of people reading the statement would support, right? What was TIDAL's plan to achieve this?

Instead of tech giants or studios owning artist's music, TIDAL was going to be owned by artists / musicians, and the significance of this was so that no 'middle-men/women' needed to be involved to take their product(s) to the market; and you're right in thinking that this also means they would therefore receive greater profit by doing so.


Most of you will have seen the memes and gifs of the Bill Gates Windows launch; the launch of TIDAL was arguably a bigger publicity event with some faces you will be sure to recognise in the below image, all taking stage and signing their agreements on camera for the public to watch.


(Image credit: https://abcnews.go.com/Business/musicians-sign-jay-zs-tidal-earn/story?id=30031180)


What happened next? At the time Jay Z said:

"Water is free. Music is $6, but no-one wants to pay for music".

He then continued to say:

"You should drink water from the tap - it's a beautiful thing, and if you want to hear the most beautiful song, then support the artist".

This is where it went wrong for TIDAL.


Social media did what it does best and delivered 'the people's voice' in the many, and the public very promptly reminded the artists that water is not free, and that the public pay/paid their bills.


The public stood up and spoke to these multi-millionaires standing on a stage, now sounding highly entitled, and what could almost be considered as an 'online rebellion' broke out, with people refusing to be 'guilt-tripped' into buying music.


What really went wrong for TIDAL?


As many of our own fans, customers, and followers will know, we are HUGE fans of Donald Miller's "Building A Story Brand" book; in fact, it changed our lives for the better - thanks Mr. Miller!


The book helps brands clarify their messages so customers will listen, and in the case of TIDAL, they made 2 big mistakes:

  1. They positioned themselves as the hero, they're not. Their customers are.

  2. They failed to answer the most important question to their customers: "How are you helping me win?"

In short, TIDAL's purpose was to support the artist, not their customers - rightly or wrongly, that is why they did not reach the potential they had hoped for.


Our advice, as per Donald Miller's advice, is always ensure you act as a guide - if you do not, you will fail.


If you're looking for a guide to help you guide your customers, or help clarify your message, Book Now here.


Develop. Flourish . Grow. Go!


Thanks for reading.




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