The Disengaged UI/UX For Music Streaming Service

Tidal’s overall UI/UX can be described as modern, trendy, and dark-themed. Nothing is wrong with these attributes; in fact, they can be very effective. However, when you consider most everyday music listeners, there is a distinct difference between the brand and the everyday listeners.  The dark-themed interface is simply not as encouraging as other clean, light-themed interfaces.  I agree that the dark-theme worked well for the night time, but evening music is more of a social occasion. It usually happens in a bar, a lounge or a nightclub. We tend to listen to music on our own during the day time.  I really hope the next UI/UX upgrade will brighten things up; it could brighten up the future for Tidal in doing so.

Pandroa One on iPAD

Pandroa One on iPAD

The Out-dated Customer Acquisition Model

One of the major challenges for Tidal to attract new users is the lack of free services. There is certainly value in high quality and ad free music streaming; however, these listeners are probably the subscribers of Spotify Premium or Pandora One. The market for people willing to pay for two streaming services is very small. The market for converting free listeners to paying listeners is tough to crack.  Not to mention the fact that you cannot experience the Tidal service without a credit card. This is preventing other on-the-edge potential customers from experiencing the service. Tidal would be better off having a truly free trial or a free version.

Tidal services

Tidal services


The Wrong Brand Story

This is the most problematic issue for Tidal. The brand story is completely disengaging and off-putting to the general public. An engaging story needs 3 elements; a hero, a magical tool, and a villain. In Tidal’s case, they get two of them wrong: the hero and the villain.

Who is the hero? Tidal came out with the support of some of the most popular musicians. The story they tell to the public is that Tidal is different from the rest, because it gives the profit  back to artists instead of major corporations.  In this case, the heroes in the story are the musicians  and artists. While that sounds like a good idea on the surface, it does not engage nor mobilize the public opinion.  In fact, public perception is that the artists are already being overpaid. Is this perception true? It doesn’t matter. If the heroes of the story are Tidal’s customers and not the artists, it would be a much more convincing pitch.

Who is the villain? Every great story has a villain, the bad guy, the establishment, the dictator – whatever you want to name it. In this case, we can roughly guess that the villain is the record companies. The problem here is that the public doesn’t really look at record companies as the bad guys; at least this perception is not strong enough to influence any significant behavior change. Finding common enemies with the public perception is key in engaging with your target audience. If Tidal can clearly define its villain and the public can resonate with such a villain, then this platform can finally influence our behavior.

Tidal Music Streaming

Tidal Music Streaming


Of course, the above is my own opinion. I also think  Tidal has a fighting chance in this music distribution market; however, they need to rethink their own brand story and step up their game in 2015.

Content has defined the web for the entirety of 2014. A presentation I designed in 2013 depicts how the organic growth of anything is tied to word of mouth and favored over any paid ad. What these contextual reads have allowed active internet users to do is simply click and stay connected. The simplicity of this act is unbearable to those who think and live in complex terms, so they have been calculated and algorithmically commodified to translate to a type of currency in an age where gold prices are as solid as air and oil has plummeted. We’ve all seen The Social Network, we know how this goes. Yet, as a constant user of these social networks, how have we identified with them each? As a whole? How have these platforms of communities defined you? These are serious questions to ask oneself if you truly wish to make the most of this currency which you now have a stake.

Recently, Snapchat has announced that they are adding former Credit Suisse banker Imran Khan to their list of impressive team members. Khan, along with executives from Google and Facebook, will be reporting to 24-year-old CEO, Evan Spiegel. Snapchat is “second only to the Facebook’s messenger.” Khan will be helping Spiegel oversee a $10 billion valuation and realize a successful IPO (initial public offering) in the same way he guided Alibaba to record-breaking gains.

When intelligence has become highly accessible and treasured, we’ve approached an era where limitations have shifted and what was once thought to be impossible is now just a Wi-Fi connection away.


Contributor: Camille Enriquez // @chamomilee

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