Don't hold your breath for Mumford & Sons to drop new music on Tidal anytime soon.
In a new interview with The Daily Beast, the British folk-rockers speak bluntly about their disdain for Jay Z's new streaming service, as well as the torrents of rich musicians currently releasing their music on it. “We wouldn’t have joined it anyway, even if they had asked," sniffed frontman Marcus Mumford. "We don’t want to be tribal."
The singer went on to explain that he finds Tidal's much-trumpeted artist compensation structure to be skewed. "I think smaller bands should get paid more for it. Bigger bands have other ways of making money, so I don’t think you can complain," he argued. "When they say it’s artist-owned, it’s owned by those rich, wealthy artists...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.”
Tidal has indeed found high-profile support in the top tier of pop stars, including Rihanna, Madonna and Kanye West. (Its latest promotional effort: over the weekend, Tidal awarded the top five streamers of J. Cole's music in the New York City area with an opportunity to meet the rapper.) The Grammy- and BRIT Award-winning Mumford & Sons have harsh words for those participants; guitarist Winston Marshall likened them to “new school fucking plutocrats,” and linked their stance to the famously anti-Spotify advocate Taylor Swift's recent op-ed in the Wall Street Journal. (In it, she wrote, "It’s my opinion that music should not be free, and my prediction is that individual artists and their labels will someday decide what an album’s price point is.")
Marshall was keen to remove himself from the streaming debate entirely. “We don’t want to be part of some Tidal ‘streaming revolution’ nor do we want to be Taylor Swift and be anti-it,” he said. “I don’t understand her argument, either... 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.”
The band ultimately had some positive words for technology, though. “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,” Mumford said. “It’s democratized the music industry."