Should We Stop #Cyberbullying TIDAL?

Let’s just be happy that celebrities tried something, and even though it failed, they are still more famous for it.

Apr 24 2015, 4:10pm

TIDAL is one of the biggest flops in the history of floppy flop flops. Movies, websites, tech services, restaurant re-branding initiatives, and television series finales haven't seen a flop this big since the last flop. Remember that flop?

Did you hear that TIDAL is one of the least popular apps in the iTunes store? Did you hear it sucks? Did you hear all of those celebrities they rolled out are selfish, greedy idiots for thinking they could take down the existing streaming music titans? Did you hear other music celebs hate it? Did you hear that TIDAL artists are defecting to 'save' their brands?

It has been interesting to watch so many content farms turn on the ambitions of Sean Carter [via Jay-Z] when they are the same content farms who rely on 'Beyonce is the greatest feminist and artist ever' positive-wave traffic. Why can't we create a tolerant version of the web where no one is cyberbullied, and we are all celebrated for merely existing?

These #TIDALshamers are the same content farms that will write 'bounce back' thinkpieces to 'celebrate' Jay-Z's next album cycle with some arbitrary narrative that serves as an advertorial for the Jay-Z brand. How one man's failure in the tech space brought him back to what he loved the most: music.

Based on watching The Social Network and once thinking about purchasing a Zune, in the tech world, there are only 'success stories' and 'flops.' Both are extremes in completely different tech spaces, but as a consumer-level tech fan, my perception of 'innovation' is very vague. This is the 'technology' space that we often associate with tech blogs—analysis of the crap we consider spending money on.

Even if the 'Why TIDAL failed' thinkpiece was already written before it launched [via pre-written obituaries] the wave of TIDAL-shaming content gives us a better perspective from which to view the consumer-level perception of technology news. There are an interesting set of underlying tech news hooks that highlight the highs and lows of tech company narratives.

From what I understand, the entire realm of consumer level tech news is all about becoming dependent upon hyping a few ubiquitous brands. Apple, Facebook, Uber, and AirBNB are so well-known that the majority of coverage is 'favorable' since it is just standard reporting of iterative feature rollouts for people to 'get excited about' and share. Readers want to be excited about using the product, so over time, the coverage starts to seem like an advertorial. In order to give 'balanced coverage,' tech and generalist content farms must pick services that are failures and PAN them.

Content farms usually rely on a positive, pansexual, post-racial tone that offends no one. The goal is to convert readers, so that usually means you can only write negative things about Joseph Kony and moms who leave kids/pets to die in hot cars. Otherwise, it is 'trolling' or 'cyberbullying.' However, tech companies get #cyberbullied as a way to validate the self-perceived technophile's perception of their consumer investments and app adoption methods.

Here are a few types of #TechShameCoverage Surrounding TIDAL​:

Discourse about Celebrity Mentality

In the Jennifer Lawrence age of 'celebs trying to humanize themselves' and portray themselves as regular ol' Ben & Jerry's eating fatties wearing elastic pants, it's great to know that people like Jay-Z still have the 'ambition' to be 'moguls' like it is still the 1990s. This means they are so confident in their personal brands and their ability to create revenue streams out of all of their actions. Clothing lines, content farms, headphones, trinkets, knick-knacks, and music streaming services can all be monetized based off their personal brands.

This is not how 'we' are. We are normal, working-class people. 'We' can't afford $20 for an inferior streaming service. 'We' don't have the budget to waste money on something that 'we' don't need. 'We' are regular people who don't even know what lossless audio is. You know what—'we' are just fine with the same services that don't 'fairly' compensate artists. 'We' hate celeb culture and the blogs that are dependent upon 'the celebrities that you hate the most' to drive clicks.

'We' hate celebrities trying to build scalable services off our interest in buying crap endorsed by celebs. We hate Marissa Mayer, Ashton Kutcher, Bono, Tom from MySpace, Jonathan TwitterInventor, and every other tech celebrity whose life is a metaphor for success/failure. 'We' just use the service; they make money from it. We hate them.

An 'honest breakdown' of the 'service'

Part of being human is learning to respectfully say that something 'totally sucks.' This is what a great blog post is.

Tech coverage uses 'an honest assessment of the service' in order to rationalize why TIDAL 'isn't as good as other services out there.' This feeds into our desire to be an 'educated consumer.' We really would give it an honest try—we're just looking for the best service for our time and money! Not asking for much! Just an intuitive user interface that transcends the five senses and knows what we want better than we do!

That's all we're always looking for when it comes to technology. Eternal disruption. Shame on self-branded 'innovators' that don't change anything. 'We' can see through their slick presentation. Having utilized user-interfaces since we were born, we are all experts and know when things can be easier/more intuitive. Sometimes, intuition needs to be a little more calculated.

It is easy to #cyberbully designers and companies because it is their duty to always create a product that meets the needs of the marketplace. We want disruption—we don't want to replace the early entrants to the streaming music marketplace. If they let us down with their product, they have let down humanity as a whole.

Internal Organizational Failure: Kanye West pulls down TIDAL tweets

Kanye West, a TIDAL backer, 'removed tweets' about TIDAL when it was an obvious flop. This was presented to readers are 'dissention,' or some sort of indication of failure. Do you think Jay-Z called Kanye West to tell him he was disappointed that he took the tweets down? Was there 'drama'? Was there a board room screaming match where all of the TIDAL celebs yelled at one another and brainstormed ways to save the company?

Did Daft Punk take off their robot helmets in an impassioned cry to get everyone back on the same page?

The creation of tech celebrities and a generalist external perception of startup culture makes it seem like there is some very deep, dark internal failure happening within the company—it's more than just slaves in cubicles hoping they get equity in a billion dollar company. A downturn of luck will usually end up with some sort of 'tell-all' piece of oral history after the ship finally sinks. Everyone will have their opinion about why certain decision makers had bad ideas, and why others were non-committal to change.

Tech blog fans love reading about internal failures because they can play 'armchair CEO,' using their deep knowledge of 'the time we went to Best Buy to pick out a FitBit' to rationalize why we 'get' what consumers need in the technology space. We can be fair, kind leaders, but also be contrived A-holes when 'the time is right' and the company needs vision.

Social Media Users 'take to Twitter' to tweet hashtag

Whenever people 'take to Twitter', the headline implies that a group of people 'went out of their way' to make their voices heard. They are usually just people who are dependent upon Twitter/Facebook as a social medium to have their voice/mediocre jokes/opinion/complaint heard about every trending topic. Television shows and blogs can aggregate these 'mean tweets' to create an argument that 'people are really talkin'!'

For example, many content farms published stories about social media users using #TidalForNoone instead of TIDALforALL. This is an easy way for content farms to easily source user-generated content. It validates the 'importance of effective social media campaigns' to the world. Did you know that there are a group of people called trolls who are mean and Tweet mean things? Sometimes they participate in social media backfires.

See, I just embedded some random person's Tweet. This is the collective voice of the common man. The people are really mad at this company for being a company. They let us down. What a flop!

We are real people taking to Twitter to have our voice heard, not to try to drive adoption of our web service.


If you are a consumer of the neutered internet, please think seriously about refraining from #cyberbullying TIDAL. These are Jay-Z's hopes and dreams. Think more about writing an passionate Jerry-Maguire-type email to a TIDAL CEO or board member about how they can 'turn it around.' Be positive. Be the change you want to see in the world.

Maybe we can all take to Twitter and reach celebrities by utilizing the hashtag #StopCyberBullyingTIDAL, creating a movement that is covered positively and shared to create positive change in the world. Let's just be happy that celebrities tried something, and even though it failed, they are still more famous for it.

'Tech' coverage panders to an all-knowing prosumer who is on top of all of the latest trends, creating a consumer identity for 'techies' who are actually just people who want to stand in line for $600+ devices. Online tech media perpetuates the false sense of fandom that people need to justify the desire to be connected to 'the world' [via some device/service].

We are better than this. We have no right to #cyberbully TIDAL.

C​arles.Bu​zz is the fallen content farmer behind HIPS​T​ER RUNOFF. Read more Life on the Content Farm h​e​re.