Published Apr 13, 2015Popular folk-rock outfit Mumford & Sons have fired shots at Jay Z's Tidal streaming service, critiquing the company's artist-owned approach by suggesting it's still just "commercial bullshit."
A Daily Beast interview with the band's Marcus Mumford and Winston Marshall had the musicians expressing their views on the recent grand announcement of Tidal, which is helmed by Jay Z and co-owned by mega-star artists like Rihanna, Madonna, Kanye West and Jack White.
"What I'm not into is the tribalistic aspect of it — people trying to corner bits of the market, and put their face on it. That's just commercial bullshit," Mumford said. "We hire people to do that for us rather than having to do that ourselves. We just want to play music, and I don't want to align myself with Spotify, Beats, Tidal, or whatever. We want people to listen to our music in their most comfortable way, and if they're not up for paying for it, I don't really care."
Though he noted the band aren't interested in an exclusive deal with Tidal ("We wouldn't have joined it anyway, even if they had asked," Mumford said), Mumford & Sons won't be opting out of streaming either. Unlike Taylor Swift's anti-Spotify position, the band see streaming as essential.
"We don't want to be part of some Tidal 'streaming revolution' nor do we want to be Taylor Swift and be anti-it," Marshall said. "I don't understand her argument, either. The focus is slightly missed. Music is changing. It's fucking changing. This is how people are going to listen to music now — streaming. So diversify as a band. It doesn't mean selling your songs to adverts. We look at our albums as stand-alone pieces of art, and also as adverts for our live shows."
Mumford also expressed concern for lesser-known acts in these stream-heavy times. While Tidal is co-signed by several major label heavy hitters, he wonders what is in store for artists with less of a reach on the global market.
"I think smaller bands should get paid more for it," he said. "Bigger bands have other ways of making money, so I don't think you can complain. A band of our size shouldn't be complaining. And when they say it's artist-owned, it's owned by those rich, wealthy artists."
All that said, he added: "Smaller bands have a better opportunity in the music industry now than they've ever had, because you don't need to have a record deal to have your music listened to worldwide. [Streaming has] democratized the music industry. So as much as it sucks, and they need to figure out how to represent people fairly financially, you've never been able to get your music listened to more easily."
Tidal currently offers a sliding scale membership, with subscriptions running between $9.99 and $19.99, depending on the audio quality.
In related news, Mumford & Sons announced more tour dates in support of their upcoming Wilder Mind, which arrives May 4 via Island Records. You can see the updated dates here.