After watching Drake’s “Child’s Play” music video, there wasn’t any real desire to see it again. The visual is well-shot, sort of humorous, and features a cameo from the gorgeous Tyra Banks shoving a slice of cheesecake into Aubrey’s face with the rage of a thousand women. It captures the song's concept but lacks creative vision.
I had a completely different experience while watching T.I.’s latest music video for the song “Warzone.” T.I. flips the script on police brutality - showing officers of color killing white men. The scenarios aren’t fictional, they should look familiar, he simply depicts the tragedies of Tamir Rich, Philando Castile, and Eric Garner with white counterparts. From the powerful lyrics to the even stronger imagery, this is the most politically charged release of T.I.’s career.
By the end of his first verse, I had the urge to share T.I.’s “Warzone.” I wanted to tweet the link, text it to friends, even label the song a “Holy Shit You Need To Watch This” selection, but there was one problem: the video is a Tidal Exclusive.
I didn’t care that “Child’s Play”was an Apple Music exclusive, it wasn’t a video I felt compelled to share with anyone. Exclusivity only matters when you’re experiencing music that you want to shout about, but realize you’re in a room all alone. What good is my praise if only a select few can watch the video? What good is a powerful message if it can’t reach the masses? T.I. may be speaking out against police brutality, but releasing the song through Tidal puts his music behind bars.
It could be hours, days, or weeks before “Warzone” is uploaded to a public forum. Or it could stay on Tidal, strictly an exclusive that never reaches YouTube or Vimeo. Tidal has yet to release all of Beyonce’s Lemonade stunning visuals. Their motivation is to keep music behind the veil, to make you sign up and subscribe, but it affects how we share music. Listeners and fans will be divided by who they’re subscribed to. Streaming has its perks, but it takes away the ability for music to move freely as word-of-mouth. This becomes very relevant when you have a music video, something you can’t buy, so it restricts those who don’t have certain subscriptions. I’m certain there are plenty of Tidal users who might’ve bought Blonde but weren't able to watch the music video for "Nikes."
Streaming is about control. Instead of giving music wings, it puts music in shackles. Freedom is the casualty of this streaming war. Unless you’re subscribed to everyone, there’s a chance you will miss out on important songs and videos. T.I. has marched with the people in the streets, he's stepping into a more vocal role against police misconduct, and “Warzone” is his boldest statement -- but he delivered that statement on a limited platform. All eyes aren’t on Tidal, all eyes aren't on Apple Music, and that’s the problem.
Music isn’t meant to be hidden behind a veil, especially music for the people. Free the music!
Editor's Update / Correction: A spokesman for Tidal reached out to DJBooth to inform us that the "Warzone" video is currently available for both members and non-members of the streaming service. We apologize for any confusion.
By Yoh, aka IndieYoh, aka @Yoh31.
Photo Credit: Tidal