Imagine more than a dozen highly recognized musical artists, including Jay Z, Madonna, Calvin Harris, Alicia Keys, Daft Punk, Rihanna, Deadmau5, and Usher, all gathered together in the same room signing a declaration. That was the scene on March 30 at Moynihan Station, NY, when 16 megastars came together and launched a project called Tidal.
“This is a platform that’s owned by artists,” Jay Z said in an interview with The New York Times as he prepared for the news conference addressing the project last week. “The challenge is to get everyone to respect music again, to recognize its value.” At the signing, Jay Z did not speak, but singer-songwriter Alicia Keys read a statement expressing their wish “to forever change the course of music history.” Though Tidal may not go that far, it will definitely be remembered as one of the biggest new musical platforms of 2015.
Like Spotify, Tidal is a subscription-based music streaming service. Jay Z bought Tidal for $56 million about two months ago from Aspiro, the Norwegian company that previously owned Tidal. It offers exclusive music and curation from artists. It has standard quality sound for $9.99 or CD-quality sound for $19.99 a month.
Most streaming services claim to use CD quality, but they use a more compressed version than the original version of the song. Unlike other music streaming services, Tidal uses an advanced audio program called Free Lossless Audio Codec. Using the Free Lossless Audio Codec, Tidal offers the real thing with clear high fidelity sound for the $19.99 subscription.
As of now, Tidal has a relatively low number of subscribers for music streaming services at 540,000, while Spotify has the most at 60 million. Jay Z likely isn’t worried about competition because all the owners are already financially set for life, due to their music fame. Tidal is more focused on offering exclusive artist content, including videos, studio sessions, rough tracks, and interactions with fans.