What do Jay Z, Beyoncé, Madonna, Chris Martin, Kanye West, Alicia Keys, Win Butler, Régine Chassagne, Calvin Harris, Daft Punk, Jack White, Jason Aldean, J. Cole, Deadmou5, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, and Usher all have in common? Besides all being high-profile artists in the music industry, they are also co-owners of Tidal, the first ever artist-owned global music and entertainment platform. Jay Z recently bought this music streaming service for $56 million and announced his plans for the platform on Monday. The goal of this high fidelity music streaming service is to create better service and an improved musical experience for both fans and artists, providing lossless sound quality and exclusive content. Tidal’s mission is to also preserve the value of music by putting the power back into the artists’ hands. “It’s about putting art back into the forefront. It’s about bringing humanity back to being artists, not technology. Art. Human art. They’re the carrier. We’re the artists. Somehow things shifted, and we went into the background,” Madonna said in the Tidal launch video.
These artists want to change the way we all experience art while simultaneously entering into a battle against Spotify and other similar music streaming services. I recently blogged about how music streaming services and labels are leaving artists with smaller shares of the cake than they deserve. Something needed to be done about this. And that something is Tidal. Artists who decide to participate put their music on this platform will get paid multiple-times higher in streaming royalties on a per-stream basis compared to other services that offer music for free. This is huge.
But the real questions here are: Will other artists be willing to participate in Tidal? Will people be willing to pay $20 every month for lossless audio ($10 for not-so-high-fidelity tracks)? Will Spotify and other music streaming services make changes to combat Tidal’s success?
If I were an artist, I would be on Tidal. As a fan, I have already downloaded the app and would probably be willing to pay for the service. But I can’t speak for everyone else. We’ll just have to wait and see how it plays out.