Major labels were “clueless” when it came to Tidal launch, says Arcade Fire’s Win Butler

Butler expressed frustration at Tidal's messy launch

The competition among online streaming services is attracting a lot of attention lately, and the shaky launch of Jay Z’s Tidal is no exception.

In an interview with the Independent, Win Butler of Arcade Fire, which was one of the few rock groups involved in Tidal’s launch, said the launch was “poorly managed” and that the major record labels involved are to blame.

“They dictated that Tidal has to cost $20,” Butler said to the Independent. “The major label music industry has completely ruined every aspect of their business. At every step of the way they’ve had the tools offered to them to create an industry that works, and they’ve completely blown it. That’s why we never had any interest in signing a contract with one of these companies because they’re clearly completely clueless.”

Butler said he was originally attracted to Tidal for its HD streaming, but kept the band independent. He admitted that the launch left a sour taste in a lot of people’s mouths.

Tidal attracted a lot of negative press in the days after its launch — 16 big-name musicians were lined up onstage at the ritzy press conference, something which didn’t help the sentiments of indie musicians, wrote the Wall Street Journal.

Of the high-profile musicians involved in Tidal’s launch, many were kept in the dark about what kind of marketing was being done with the new streaming service, he said.

“None of the artists knew anything about the PR,” he said.

Tidal was originally marketed as the first artist-owned streaming service in the world. Despite the bumpy start, plans to include features like Tidal Rising, which would highlight lesser-known artists, and Tidal Discovery, which would allow independent artists to upload their music, are paving the way for a PR recovery.