Mumford & Sons slam 'plutocrats' behind Jay Z's Tidal

Winston Marshall attacks celebrities endorsing streaming service while Marcus Mumford speaks out on behalf of smaller artists

Mumford & Sons have joined Lily Allen in the backlash against Jay Z’s streaming service Tidal. The band’s banjoist, Winston Marshall, claimed the big-name celebrities endorsing the service, and who took part in Tidal’s launch, were the “new-school fucking plutocrats”, while frontman Marcus Mumford suggested his group would never align themselves with any specific service.

In an interview with the Daily Beast, the band said that they were not asked to join the A-list lineup that launched the product, but “wouldn’t have joined it anyway, even if they had asked. We don’t want to be tribal,” said Mumford.

The frontman also said that he believed more established, wealthy artists would benefit most from Tidal, and suggested that the service was outmoded in terms of furthering the careers of independent acts. “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. It’s democratised the music industry.”

He added: “Music is changing. It’s fucking changing. 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 standalone pieces of art, and also as adverts for our live shows.”

“We just want to play music, and 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.”

Arcade Fire, Beyoncé, Calvin Harris, Coldplay, Daft Punk, Deadmau5, Jack White, Jason Aldean, J Cole, Kanye West, Madonna, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna and Usher all appeared at the press conference for Tidal’s launch on 31 March, and all have equity in Tidal.

The company has pitched itself as “the first artist-owned global music and entertainment platform”, and promises to give shares to other musicians.

Jay Z has explained that Tidal, which costs subscribers £9.99 or £19.99 per month, aims to boost profits for songwriters, giving value to the creatives who’ve helped to create an album. “I’m just saying the producers and people who work on music are getting left out – that’s when it starts getting criminal. It’s like you’re working hard and you’re not receiving. In any other business, people would be standing before Congress,” said the rapper. “They have anti-trust laws against this kind of behaviour. It almost seems like when it applies to music no one really cares who’s cheated. It’s so disorganised; it’s so disconnected from reality.”

Mumford and Sons are due to release their new album, Wilder Mind, on 4 May.

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Guardian music

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