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What is Tidal and should you care?

Posted by on March 31, 2015

Yesterday, one of the more insane press conferences in recent memory took place as Jay Z unveiled his new streaming service, Tidal. What was insane about it? Well, 15  of some of the  biggest names in the music industry stood on stage together , and three of them (Daft Punk and Deadmau5), didn’t even have their faces showing. The reason for that unified front, which also included Kanye West, Beyonce, Madonna, Jack White, Chris Martin of Coldplay (remotely), Nicki Minaj and Jason Aldean, was to announce that they were all owners of the new streaming service, which is going up against Spotify and Apple’s soon-to-come streaming service.

Here’s how Tidal, which Jay Z bought last month for $56 million, works. Like Spotify, it costs $9.99/month. Unlike Spotify, however, there’s no free ad-supported version of it. And unlike any other streaming service, there’s a version with lossless quality audio that costs $19.99/month. So instead of giving your money to record labels, you’re giving it instead to some of the richest artists in the music industry. It’s telling that Tidal is the only streaming service where you can currently hear Taylor Swift’s music. While the deal might be great for the site’s owners, no one’s yet said anything about whether smaller artists will be compensated any better than they are on the other streaming services (which is to say not all that much).

As far as metal is concerned, it wasn’t even mentioned at the press conference. It might have been somewhat interesting if Jay had enlisted a successful hard rock or metal band like Metallica, Tool or even Slipknot (which would’ve helped out the mask quotient onstage!). But at this point, it’s being derided by the press, both for it expecting consumers to pay more for streaming music (why pay an extra $10/month for something you’re going to listen to with crappy headphones, like most streaming music listeners do?), and for the 1% of successful musicians getting a piece of the other 99%. If anyone’s good at hustling, it’s Jay-Z, but he’s going to have to work pretty hard for this to succeed.

If you’re still interested, you can try out Tidal for free for 30 days.

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Categorised in: News, Streaming Music