Do you know about the Streaming Wars?
This year is coming to an end, and I have to say; what a year it was. In the entertainment industry, it was a year of chaos and new beginnings. This year America got to witness the first ever Streaming Wars. A friendly war that will go down in history for years to come. The Streaming Wars is a war in the music industry between streaming services, recording labels, and music artists. The war first began with two opponents and as it progressed, many others joined together for the epic fight. It was much like a war between countries, where partnerships are be made and allies agree to back each other against a common enemy.
Many were apart of the epic war, but some played more important roles than others. Below you will find a timeline mapping out who the most important warriors were and what they did to piss off their opponents. Some would even call these warriors Gods, or Entertainment Olympians.
The Streaming Wars began with Beyoncé
The war first began when Beyoncé, the goddess of perfection, released her second visual album, Lemonade, exclusively on Tidal. Her first visual album, self titled, was unexpectedly released three years prior. This was her tip-toeing around America, and after her three-year duck-off she released a video to her hit single Formation. Formation hinted that she had a secret weapon in her bag. Something that would cause a lot of conversation and controversy. However, no one knew that it would start a war. Hot Sauce was the secret weapon in her bag; with just one hit from this sizzling bat, the victim would want a glass of lemonade. America was the victim in Beyoncé’s warrior rage and so she prepared a grand gesture to apologize to us by blessing us with an hour-long peak into the life we never got to gossip about.
You may think by looking at the timeline above that Kanye West, god of egotism, started the Streaming Wars. It’s true that without Kanye releasing The life of Pablo at the start of the year, the wars wouldn’t be the same; however Beyoncé’s move was the start of the wars. Kanye vowed only to make TLOP exclusive to Tidal indefinitely as he walked us through the process of he and his team making the album golden. This is when Tidal began its incline to victory, or so I thought.
Who was at battle in the wars at this time?
Streaming services were still new during this time; Pandora and Spotify were the only ones music listeners were used to. Once Tidal launched, the game changed forever. Soon after Apple revamped its music platform, and so did Google. Beyoncé’s intention was to start a war between artists and recording labels due to the harsh treatment and low payment many artist had to deal with. Unintentionally, Beyoncé, started a war between streaming services as well; they wanted part in the conversation and so they were part of it.
Apple Music and Tidal were the main services at war; Spotify was enjoying time out of the spotlight until teaming up with Apple Music to defeat Tidal, as they both were loosing subscribers. Soundcloud, the indie app, wanted part in the trend so they also changed their platform in light of all of the changes. Apple music then began creating an exclusive roster as Tidal did. Apple Music struck deals with Drake, god of feminism, and Frank Ocean, god of suspense. Drake released his 5th solo studio LP Views, and made it exclusive to Apple Music for a limited time. Soon After Frank Ocean agreed to a similar deal for the release of his second studio LP; the two-part Boys Don’t Cry, featuring Endless and Blond(e).
After the release of Blond(e) the war shifted and allies began to form. Frank ocean’s move caused a lot of casualties; most of them were artists, and executives in the music industry had to act fast if they wanted to keep their jobs, and secure the monopoly in the industry. Streaming services teamed up against recording labels, and recording labels took themselves out of the fight and found better investments. Rumors about a potential buy between Apple and Tidal then became mainstream gossip, which later proved to be untrue. Recording labels had bigger issues to worry about, which is why they took themselves out of the fight to focus on a bigger picture. The head of the monopoly couldn’t be loosing money.
Where does music place on the Pop Culture spectrum?
Music is at the center of the Pop Culture Spectrum; without it featured films wouldn’t have soundtracks to make them complete, Fashions shows would be boring, and there would be no score music for daytime television. Life would be dull to say the least. Music is the heart of Pop Culture, it’s what gets everyone together to showcase and award what’s Popular and Trending. Events that surround the industry wouldn’t be if there was no music to get people off the couch and at a venue. A lot of money in the industry comes from those expensive event ticket prices. Long story short, music is an important part of American Culture.
Executives in the entertainment industry knew this, which is why things started to rapidly change. Roy LaManna, CEO, was the first to act and many others took action after. Mr. LaManna mediated the fight between artists and recording labels. He knew that the industry operated by numbers, and computers. Since no one else would volunteer, her decided to handle the meta issue in the music industry that no one was paying attention to. This made limited independence in the industry possible, and Indie Culture was very appreciative of his leadership.
The spectrum of the 2016 Streaming Wars
The streaming wars concluded after Travi$ Scott, demigod, agreed to a deal with Apple Music for his second Studio LP Birds In The Trap Sing McKnight. Even though it wasn’t at all a good move for apple music, everyone took that victory as a win for Apple Music; This was not the case. Travi$ is incredibly talented but he isn’t of much status to be getting exclusive deals. So who really won this war? If you ask me, there were many winners, but since the industry operates on numbers, there has to be only one. Spotify didn’t act much in the wars but something tells me that they remained the streaming service with the most subscribers. Apple Music places in second, and Tidal has a lot of work to do. Official numbers haven’t been released yet for this year but I am very excited to see them when they do.
Something tells me that if Rihanna, goddess of rebellion, hadn’t played both sides, Tidal would have at least gained a lot more subscribers. As a member of the #RihannaNavy it’s my job to back her in whatever she does. Apple Music’s exclusive roster was grand; Tidal’s listening experience was amaze-balls, and well Spotify was the first to play the game. So who do you think will win next years Streaming Wars? Numbers don’t lie, but how will next years winner be decided? The streaming wars should have guidelines. What’s your spectrum?