Penned by marketing professional Denayja Reese, Free Market is a monthly column exploring marketing for tech companies and startups.
Marketing in 2016 has become less of a profession and more of a blood sport. No gladiators are battling more fiercely for consumer loyalty (and dollars) than music streaming services. With Spotify and Apple taking the top spots and heavy hitters like Samsung jumping into the sector, the competition for listening power is showing no signs of slowing down. Hence Jay Z’s struggling music service Tidal needs to get it together if they want to survive.
Having taken a few notable “Ls” since its launch in 2015, including the negative social media reaction to its launch campaign, multiple company staff changes and a lot of unfavorable press coverage, Tidal has been declared doomed about as many times as Jay Z has declared himself the greatest. However, I, a fan of Hov, Bey, Nicki and most of Tidal’s artists, as well as a good underdog story, am here to tell you otherwise.
As a Tidal user, I can attest that the service really is the wave. Its interface is beautiful, media quality excellent and membership comes with a plethora of perks. Unlike most struggling tech startups, the problem isn’t the product design or access to promotional tools. The biggest hole sinking Tidal’s ship is it’s marketing department. If Tidal wants to see 2017, Jay Z should consider hiring not one, but all of the seven professionals on our list.
Who to Hire: Solange Knowles, Saint Heron Founder/CEO & Former Jay Z A** Whopping Distributor
The Sell: A weekly show where Sol-Angel offers new music and interviews with cultural influencers.
I know it’s not traditional for someone to hire a person who has figuratively beaten him or her up, let alone literally. While we’ll most likely never know what went down in that elevator two years ago, what we do know is that Solange is a force in culture and music that would do a lot to mend one of Tidal’s biggest marketing missteps: A negligent underutilization of their star power. Solange and her Saint Heron fan base would do wonders to add authenticity to the brand. Maybe Hov can be a guest on the show! Wouldn’t you pay $20 to find out what happened on that elevator? I would!
Who to Hire: Babba Canales, Marketing Manager at Uber
The Sell: Already working with a unicorn company to bring in fashion partnership deals with brands like Rag & Bone, Canales could lend the same expertise to bring exclusive fashion content to Tidal.
Yes, obviously any HR person worth their soul knows that wooing someone away from a thriving company like Uber to a ‘challenging’ one, is a pretty tough sell. However, Jay Z has one super secret weapon over the mega company that might sway Canales to take a wild ride with Tidal: Queen Bey. As it turns out, Canales (along with the rest of the free world) is a member of the Beyhive. Make it happen, Hov!
Who to Hire: Danielle Austen, Managing Partner & CEO of fluent360
The Sell: Danielle’s is a celebrated advertising executive whose agency has created campaigns for corporate giants like Nissan.
Advertising is far different from marketing and I am of the opinion that it should be outsourced as often as possible. Tidal has done a decent amount of paid advertising through channels that Jay Z has a direct connection to. If Tidal wants to get major TV ad time, it should call in Danielle and her team to generate something as engaging and impactful as fluent360’s “Face-Off” campaign for Nissan during the 2014 World Cup.
Who to Hire: Numa Perrier and Dennis Dortch, Cofounders of Black & Sexy TV
The Sell: The partnership may seem out of reach for the indie content creation network but with Tidal’s recent foray into web series (they’re releasing season two of the popular Money & Violence series), the company could use Perrier and Dortch’s magic touch.
Characteristic: Team player(s)
If you’re still balking at the idea of someone as established as Hov calling on rising business execs Perrier and Dortch, think again. Holding down as many subscribers on YouTube as Tidal has followers on Twitter it’s a clear indication that both brands are more inline than meets the eye immediately. The duo has also succeeded where Tidal has failed in converting free fans into paid subscribers as seen with Black & Sexy TV switching to a paid model in 2015.
Who to Hire: Brooke Hammerling, CEO & Founder of Brew Media Relations
The Sell: The woman responsible for the SXSW activation that helped GroupMe win the festival in 2011, Hammerling is known for bringing startups to Silicon Valley insiders that can help take them to the next level.
More than a PR pro, Hammerling’s innovative tactics and commitment to the tech industry would give Tidal some much-needed Silicon street-cred. Hov being no stranger to SXSW stunts, most famously his 2014 Samsung concert, should rush to see if there’s any room in her schedule for this year’s conference. Not to mention the potential for GroupMe partnerships with Tidal artists and their fans are virtually endless.
Who to Hire: Eliana Murillo, Head of Multicultural Marketing at Google
The sell: With a keen understanding of marketing across cultural lines and Tidal making a few plays for the Latino music market last year, Murillo could help them translate their message to this powerful demographic.
I am sure you’re thinking, “Why would Murillo ever take time away from Google to work for Tidal?” To which, I give you two answers. First, Jay Z‘s business prowess is unmatched. Second, more than name recognition motivates Murillo. The entrepreneur also serves as CMO of Tequila Alquimia, an organic tequila company operated by Murillo and her family. Hov’s rich (no pun intended) history with alcohol brands includes Bacardi and Cristal. I am sure his stamp of approval and adding the 40/40 Club franchise to Alquimia’s stock list would go a long way toward turning Murillo’s head.
Did we miss anyone? Let us know what you think about Tidal’s marketing in the comments section below.