Let no one underestimate the power of Kanye West; come hell or bizarre tweets or even $53 million worth of “debt,” Yeezus can still flex on the music industry, even when he doesn’t have a single hard copy out. In fact, Kanye’s latest album, The Life of Pablo, might be responsible for saving Tidal, the notorious streaming service backed by Jay Z since subscribers have more than doubled since West released TLOP exclusively on Tidal last week, as reported by TMZ.
I’ll admit defeat—I’m one of the nearly 1.5 million people that have willingly subscribed to Tidal since Kanye released TLOP—a 1.5 million who could help rake in $15 million for the streaming service. I resisted the bright blue
Illuminati siren call of Tidal since Jay gathered all my faves (Beyoncé, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, Usher, J.Cole, and even Madonna) last year for a press conference that seemed like a prelude to musical monopoly that was going to dip into my spending money.
I didn’t download it for Nicki when she released her “Feeling Myself” video, which was arguably one of the my musical highlights of 2015. (Honestly, does it get much better than seeing Bey and Nicki feed each other fries and Big Macs? I think not.)
I didn’t download Tidal when Rihanna finally released Anti, consoling myself that if she didn’t release it on iTunes and Spotify before I went to her concert, I would somehow survive on her past works alone.
I didn’t download it for Queen Bey when she released “Formation,” preferring instead to troll the Internet until I found it on YouTube, thanks to her nonchalant tweet.
Hell, I didn’t even download it for Prince when he released HITNRUN a few months ago AND pulled all his previous discography off Spotify, and he’s Prince.
And yet somehow, I found myself inputting my credit card information and willingly signing up for Tidal, all for 18 tracks that amount to less than hour of music. Why in the world would I do this for a man who pops off on Twitter irrationally, has hubris to rival Machiavelli’s “The Prince,” and whose ridiculous antics have provided me daily bylines in the past month?
It all started when I found myself dancing at his Madison Square Garden album screening / Yeezy Season 3 showing during Fashion Week. I entered the stadium with some trepidation because ’Ye had been tweeting crazy things for well over two weeks leading up to the show. But as he plugged in his laptop and basically held a huge dance party in Madison Square Garden, I couldn’t help but smile and dance—it was just too damn good. It was like Kanye proving why we still listen to him even though he’s now on a reality TV show and he tweets ridiculous things and still disrupts awards shows.
I still wasn’t going to download Tidal, however, and probably would have waited until the album came out on iTunes or someone got me a bootleg download (sorry, Kanye!)—except I took the most intense power flow yoga class of my life at Y7 where every posture was perfectly matched to a Kanye song and I found my body once again moving in tandem with Kanye’s music, my muscle memory activated by the gospel choruses and infectious beats.
Maybe it was the endorphins or the copious amount I sweat, but I gave in. I downloaded Tidal, I’ve been listening to this damn album on repeat since Sunday, and you know what? It was worth throwing in the towel. Take all my money, Tidal—I don’t even care because I’m dancing to the unlikely but perfect combo of Kirk Franklin singing while Chance the Rapper raps and Kelly Price croons, with Kanye presiding over it all.