Tidal has been criticized for everything these past weeks, from its ill-conceived launch press conference to its earnest intro video to the business model designed to seemingly make wealthy entertainers wealthier. Now, not only is Jay Z coming forward to try and clear up some of the confusion about the streaming service (and, hopefully, drum up some goodwill), the company’s chief investment officer, Vania Scholgel, spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about where the company is. Most pointedly, she addresses some of the PR shortcomings of the company so far.
“Everything that has been done to date has come from a place of authenticity but we recognize that we’re not perfect at PR. We’re not perfect at having a polished message. We’re still young enough, small enough, maybe even naive enough to think that authentic voice would have come through by now,” she said.
Excuses aside, Schlogel hit one of the main issues on the head: people are galled by the idea that entertainers who are millionaires many times over are asking the consumer to spend more money with Tidal so they can be richer. Does Lady Gaga need another meat dress? Daft Punk new helmets? Madonna new gold teeth?
“The one thing I did not expect or foresee was that if we didn’t tell all the details, people would come in and speculate and tell the story for us,” Schlogel added. Turns out there are programs on the way — Tidal Rising, Tidal Discovery and Tidal X — that are designed to help up-and-comers and indie artists.
“I think we [should] have said from day one: by the way, these are the programs we’re going to announce. At the time we thought it would be good to have that be its own separate event and then as these different initiatives got rolled out, they’d be their own entities,” she added.
So we have a couple of PR 101 lessons right here in front of us:
-Make sure your press conference clearly announces whatever it is you’re hosting the press conference for.
-And don’t wait for other people to jump in and explain your brand for you because they won’t do a good job.
But there’s also a third interesting thing happening here. So far, the mouthpieces for this effort have been the celebrities. And while celebrities can be great spokespeople, they can be really bad publicists. It’s interesting that, for this interview and in order to clear every thing up, the company has chosen to push a company exec to the forefront. She doesn’t have the name recognition (she has 149 Twitter followers), but her message is clear. She’s probably spoken in the most straightforward way about the business enterprise than anyone so far.
Image via Tidal press conference