TIDAL’s Exclusive Attention to Art and Creators
On the off chance that you have never heard of TIDAL - it is a music streaming service controlled and mostly owned by Jay-Z. Much like Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, and others platforms for streaming music, it works with a monthly user subscriptions and artist royalties and payouts. There is no free version, though and no ads - ever. The other main difference between this platform and other of its kind is that it’s artist-owned. Along with Jay-Z - Madonna, Jack White, Chris Martin, and Alicia Keys and other artists are also owners of the service.
TIDAL is really based around the idea of providing high-quality music to listeners while supporting artists. Unlike the majority of streaming services, TIDAL does not offer a freemium version. That means that in order to enjoy the quality and array of music and perks they offer - you need to pay a monthly subscription. This goes hand in hand with the idea of supporting artists and their craft. You don’t expect to get free access to a concert, or a museum - so why would you be able to listen for free? There are two tiers, Premium at $9.99 a month and HiFi at $19.99 a month. Premium includes standard sound quality (320 Kbps) while HiFi includes lossless, High Fidelity sound quality (1411 Kbps), Master Quality audio (up to 9216 Kbps), and immersive audio options that fully optimize sound for your atmosphere and desired experience.
Big things are happening for TIDAL. In March this year, the payment company for small businesses, Square bought a majority stake of TIDAL. Square is run by Jack Dorsey, who is also the CEO of Twitter. He has also invited Jay-Z to join the exec board at Square, which is no surprise, considering the two met on a yacht trip years ago and have been celebrity homies ever since.
Square is acquiring a majority ownership stake in TIDAL through a new joint venture, with the original artists becoming the second largest group of shareholders, and JAY-Z joining the Square board. Why would a music streaming company and a financial services company join forces?!— jack (@jack) March 4, 2021
Dorsey’s promise to TIDAL users is simple: to continue to be the “best home for music, musicians and culture.” With dozens of music streaming services available, this seems like quite a difficult task. However, TIDAL does differ from other platforms - mostly with the fact that it is owned and led by artists who want to make it easy for artists to profit from their art. It’s an optimistic step in the right direction.
Even though there are other giants in the game, like Spotify, Apple Music and Deezer, none of them are entirely driven by the idea of artist compensation. TIDAL, along with Rhapsody/Napster and Amazon Music Unlimited is among the top three platforms in terms of artist payouts.
This varies between streaming services, of course. For example, Spotify’s average per-stream payout rate is $0.00318. Almost 3x higher, TIDAL’s artist payout per stream is $0.00989. The general definition of a “stream” is when a user plays a track for 30 seconds or longer.
This is one of the major ways that TIDAL differs from other streaming platforms. While the platform might not boast a huge amount of users like others, it really makes its users count, so to say. Additionally, by creating a community and method for artists, fellow musicians, producers, and labels to have an “uncompromised experience of the art.”
If you want to give it a spin, TIDAL offers exclusive editorial playlists that are curated by mood, theme, or genre. Here is one of my personal favorites - In The Loop. It features a ton of great fundamental beats and tracks, including instrumentals versions of some of my go-to jams like "Tints" by Anderson. Paak and and "Affection" by Sango.
If you want to explore TIDAL's editorials in full and get some inspiration for their best-curated playlists, check out our selection of the best TIDAL editorial playlists.
As Jack Dorsey plans, the platform is growing in new ways to support artists. Outside of music streaming, the platform currently offers video streaming. They are currently looking at ways to increase revenues to artists by exploring complementary options for income, such as collaboration tools and integrations for march and event sales. Ideally, they are shrinking the gap between fans and artists and really give users an exclusive, high-quality experience.
At the end of the day, the choice of which music streaming platform to subscribe to is absolutely yours. However, keep in mind that by supporting TIDAL, you (and your $) are really getting behind the idea that artists should be rightfully compensated for their craft.
Of course, if you want to support artists directly you can do so through sites like Bandcamp.