Tidal: Misses the Boat

With “The ruler’s back” kicking off one of Jay-Z’s greatest albums to date and the recent (re)launch of his streaming service Tidal, my hopes of a Jay-Z disruption were extremely high.

With claims to revolutionize streaming and pay artists what they deserve, Tidal depicted the utopian ideal of edgy design, quality, and fairness. I was pumped to check it out, not merely as an H.O.V. fan, but as a UX/UI junkie craving to experience music streaming in a new way. With creds for shaping one of the most popular music genres, you’d think Tidal would bleed the Jay-Z innovation as well. Yet, what I discovered was anything but revolutionary.

The interface is the same grid layout we’ve all come to know (and love) from our other player, cough Spotify. Not that there is a problem with the way big “S” handles their layout, in my opinion, it does some pretty amazing things, especially in regards with how it handles an incredible library of content.

I just expected more with Tidal, especially coming from J-HOVA, someone who’s built his career by straying from the beaten path. I wanted something that would blow my mind, something that made me NEED Tidal, but it just wasn’t there.

There were glimpses of what Tidal could have been, with slick transitions that make sense to a user and don’t remove them from the moment.

There were literally two instances when this level of detail was applied. And the look of the app is super sharp, black on black with pops of neon blue that scream for you to click.

Also, there’s no denying that Tidal has a very trendy look, but it’s the details that make a truly immersive and engaging experience. Unfortunately, with Tidal’s design inconsistencies and jarring page transitions, it was difficult to convince myself I needed this new platform for music streaming. And with a price tag of $19.99 for premium membership, Tidal, missed the boat (pun intended) on this user.

Tidal 3
Let me clarify though, this is in no way a put down to the team of incredible designers who obviously spent countless nights away from their families. This is merely my take on a, now, very traditional service from someone who has made a name for themselves by rising above, not floating amongst his peers.

What are your thoughts? Would you make the switch from Spotify to Tidal? Let us know.