Tidal (service)

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Tidal
Tidalhifi.png
Tidal screenshot.png
Home screen of Tidal for Android app
Opened October 28, 2014; 2 years ago (2014-10-28)
Created by Aspiro
Platforms Microsoft Windows
OS X
iOS
Android
Format AAC, FLAC, ALAC, MQA
Catalogue 46 million songs
Availability 52 countries[1]
Alexa rank Decrease 2,851 (January 2017)[2]
TIDAL Music AB
Limited liability company
Industry Music
Founded 2009; 8 years ago (2009) in Malmö, Skåne County, Sweden[3]
Key people
Jeff Toig (CEO)
Products Tidal
WiMP
Owner Sprint Corporation (33%)
Parent Aspiro
(Project Panther Bidco Ltd. (Jay Z))[3]
Website tidal.com

Tidal (stylized as TIDAL) is a subscription-based music streaming service that combines lossless audio and high-definition music videos with exclusive content and curated editorial celebrating the culture of music. Included in Tidal's offerings are concert livestreams, ticket giveaways and other experiential events like listening parties and meet-and-greets with artists.

The service has over 46 million tracks and 192,000 music videos. Tidal pays the highest percentage of royalties to music artists and songwriters within the music streaming market,[4] while offering two levels of digital music streaming service: Tidal Premium (lossy quality) and Tidal HiFi (lossless CD quality - FLAC-based 16-Bit/44.1 kHz - and MQA). Tidal was launched in 2014 by Norwegian/Swedish public company Aspiro. It has distribution agreements with all of the three major labels, in addition to many indies.[5] In the first quarter of 2015, the parent company Aspiro was acquired by Project Panther Bidco Ltd., which was dissolved on August 2, 2016 [6] which was owned by Shawn "Jay Z" Carter.[7]

Following the acquisition of Aspiro by Jay Z in March 2015, a mass-marketing campaign was introduced to relaunch Tidal. Multiple music artists changed their social media profiles design blue, and posted the phrase "#TIDALforAll" on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.[8] A press conference took place on March 30, 2015, introducing sixteen music artists to the stage, including Jay Z, who were all co-owners and stakeholders in Tidal.[9] The service was promoted as being the first artist-owned streaming service with the goal of returning the value proposition to music.

While some observers praised the impressive high fidelity, lossless audio quality, and the higher subscription fees which would result in higher royalties to the artists and songwriters, others felt the high subscription fees and exclusive Tidal content from the artists involved could result in an increase of music piracy. As of March 2015, the service itself claims to have over 580,000 paying users after being integrated with its sister service, WiMP, as well as 17,000 using the high fidelity service.[10][11] Tidal currently operates in 52 countries.[12] Sprint purchased 33% of Tidal on January 23, 2017 for a reported $200M.[13]

History[edit]

Branching off from WiMP, which was launched in Norway in 2010 and later available in Sweden, Denmark, Germany and Poland, Aspiro first launched the Tidal brand in the UK, the US, and Canada on October 28, 2014. The launch was supported by Sonos and 15 other home audio manufacturers as integrations partners.[14] In January 2015, Tidal launched in five more European countries: Ireland, Finland, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg.[5] It is currently available in 52 countries worldwide.

Aspiro was purchased by Project Panther Bidco Ltd. (owned by Jay Z) for SEK 466 million (USD $56.2 million) in January 2015.[15] Before acquiring Aspiro, Jay Z stated in an interview with Billboard that he was willing to partner with other streaming services to carry out his vision. "We talked to every single service and we explored all the options," stated Jay Z, "But at the end of the day, we figured if we're going to shape this thing the way we see it, then we need to have independence. And that became a better proposition for us, not an easier one, mind you," he concluded.[16]

On April 16, 2015 it came to public attention that Tidal was closing its original Aspiro offices in Stockholm, terminating the employment for all Swedish employees and the current CEO Andy Chen.[17] The company refused to comment on closing the offices, but confirmed that Andy Chen had been replaced as CEO by Peter Tonstad.[18] In December 2015, Tidal appointed Jeff Toig as CEO of the company.[19]

On January 23, 2017, US mobile carrier Sprint announced that they were buying a 33 percent stake in Tidal,[20] reporting Sprint will offer exclusive content to Sprint customers.[13]

Artist ownership[edit]

Tidal is currently owned by Jay Z, and a variety of other successful music artists, making it the first artist-owned streaming service in the world.[16] The idea of an artist-owned streaming platform was stated as to "restore the value to music by launching a service owned by artists."[21] During the previously-mentioned press conference, Jay Z himself, Beyoncé, Rihanna, Kanye West, Nicki Minaj, Daft Punk, Jack White, Madonna, Arcade Fire, Alicia Keys, Usher, Chris Martin, Calvin Harris, deadmau5, Jason Aldean and J. Cole were introduced to the stage as "the owners of TIDAL".[9][22][23] Eric Harvey of Pitchfork stated on the artists who co-own the service, "These are the 1 percent of pop music in the world right now, these are artists who do not answer to record labels, do not answer to corporations."[16]

A key selling point for Tidal in relation to competing with other streaming services such as Spotify and Pandora Radio is the exclusive content already available and expected for the future from the current artists who co-own the company, as well as others. Exclusive content available on the relaunch of Tidal included Rihanna's new single "Bitch Better Have My Money", The White Stripes debut television appearance, Daft Punk's Electroma (2006), and playlists personally curated by Jay Z, Beyoncé, Arcade Fire and Coldplay.[24] Tidal stated on its official Twitter page that "lots of exclusive content [is] on the way".[25] In April 2015, Tidal exclusives included Beyoncé releasing a video of her performing "Die for You", a never-before heard original song, dedicated to her and Jay Z's wedding anniversary, Madonna releasing a teaser of her upcoming music video at the time for "Ghosttown" and Rihanna debuting her brand new song and music video "American Oxygen".[26][27]

On March 30, 2015, a press conference was held at Skylight at Moynihan Station in New York City, to officially relaunch Tidal.[28] The conference started with a brief introduction and explanation of Tidal. After introducing the aforementioned sixteen artist co-owners of Tidal onstage, recording artist Alicia Keys spoke on behalf of the artists and for Tidal. She stated, "So we come together before you on this day, March 30th, 2015, with one voice in unity in the hopes that today will be another one of those moments in time, a moment that will forever change the course of music history." Keys also described the event as like a "graduation".[29] At the end of the press conference, all artists onstage signed a declaration, which stated Tidal's mission.[30] Tidal claimed to have gained 100,000 new subscribers following the press conference revealing the artists involved in the service.[31]

In June 2015, Lil Wayne joined the service's roster as an artist co-owner, kicking off the partnership by exclusively releasing a track on the service called "Glory."[32]

On February 23, 2016, T.I. joined the service's roster as the latest co-owner, kicking off the partnership by releasing "Money Talk", a single from his tenth album, exclusively on the service, as well as streaming his concert live from Greenbriar Mall in Atlanta.[33]

On April 23, 2016, Beyoncé released "Lemonade," her second "visual album" available for streaming exclusively on Tidal. on April 25, it was made available for purchase by track or album on Amazon Music and the iTunes store and on May 6, it arrived at physical retailers.

In November 2016, Tidal released, with exclusivity, the single of work of the singer Claudia Leitte, "Taquitá", where it gained worldwide repercussion. The video clip was also released exclusively on the platform for one week.

In January 2017, the company announced a partnership with UK-company Master Quality Authenticated to deliver master-quality recordings—authenticated and unbroken versions (typically 96 kHz / 24 bit) with the highest-possible resolution to its HiFi subscribers. Tidal is the only streaming company to offer this service.

Reception[edit]

Shortly after Tidal's launch and press conference, the mobile version of the service shot to the top 20 of the U.S. iPhone Apps chart. However, following criticism for its "out-of-touch marketing campaign", two weeks later, the app had already fallen out of the top 700 ranking of the same list, while competing services like Spotify and Pandora were surging.[34]

Praise[edit]

Glenn Peoples of Billboard wrote that Tidal was a good thing for the music industry. He stated that the U.S. streaming market needed a "kick in the butt" when looking at the growth rate of streaming from 2014 to 2015. Peoples also noted that more competition in the streaming market is a good thing as it could lead to a "greater diffusion of innovation". He concluded that a service like Tidal - which is promoted as paying a fair amount of royalties to both the artists and the songwriters - will lead to the industry as a whole sorting out its issues with streaming royalties.[35]

Criticism[edit]

Writing for USA Today's website, Micah Peters released a list of "3 reasons why Jay Z's new Tidal streaming service is stupid". The article focused on points that the high fidelity, lossless audio quality model being promoted was "overestimat[ing] the average listener". Peters worried that most listeners do not have the required, advanced headphones to distinguish the difference between ordinary and high fidelity audio. The article also stated that the $20 price was simply not reasonable for the mass market.[36]

Recording artist Lily Allen expressed her opinions on Tidal on her official Twitter account. She feared that the high price of Tidal, as well as the mass popularity of the artist co-owners, could result in crippling the music industry and increasing piracy. She stated "I love Jay-Z so much, but Tidal is (so) expensive compared to other perfectly good streaming services, he's taken the biggest artists... Made them exclusive to Tidal (am I right in thinking this?), people are going to swarm back to pirate sites in droves".[37]]

Jay Z responded to criticism with a freestyle during the Tidal X: Jaÿ-Z B-Sides[38] concert. He compares Tidal with Apple and Nike, and says that Tidal has been subjected to hypocritical criticism.

Kanye West's decision to initially release his album The Life of Pablo as a Tidal streaming exclusive led to criticism from fans, who felt that streaming exclusivity could promote piracy. Sure enough, the album has been pirated over 500,000 times as of February 17, 2016.[39] West later made the album available to stream on competing services.[citation needed]

Finances and royalties[edit]

In the United States, a monthly subscription costs $9.99 for the standard "premium" service, or $19.99 for the lossless quality high fidelity ("HiFi") service, when subscribed through the Tidal website.[40] Subscriptions cost 30% more ($12.99/$25.99) when subscribed directly through the iOS app due to Apple App Store fees.[41] Tidal offers a 50% discount for students of accredited institutions, as well as a 40% discount for users in military service.[42] Tidal claims to pay the highest royalty percentage of any current music streaming company, with approximately 75% of members subscription fees being given to record labels for individual artist and songwriter distribution.[4][43]

One artist has stated that artist royalties per track from Aspiro/Tidal are currently over three times than those paid by Spotify, but that royalties may decrease to provide a sufficient return on investment.[44] Jay Z commented in an interview to Billboard that artists would be paid more by being streamed on Tidal than with Spotify, stating "Will artists make more money? Even if it means less profit for our bottom line? Absolutely. That's easy for us. We can do that. Less profit for our bottom line, more money for the artist; fantastic. Let's do that today." In the same interview he also stressed the service was for people "lower down on the food chain". "For someone like me, I can go on tour, but what about the people working on the record, the content creators and not just the artists? If they're not being compensated properly, then I think we'll lose some writers and producers and people like that who depend on fair trade. Some would probably have to take another job, and I think we'll lose some great writers in the process."[16]

On February 27, 2016, Yesh Music, LLC and John Emanuele from the band The American Dollar launched a $5 million class-action lawsuit that claimed Tidal has yet to compensate the band for any of the royalty payments accrued from the streaming of the band's 116 copyrighted songs. The group had asked months ago to have their music removed from Tidal. As of today, the band's profile is currently still on the service, however no music is available to stream or download on Tidal. The suit also accused Tidal of using faulty numbers to payout artists while also having undercut these same individuals by 35%. A response from Tidal has stated that they are indeed fully up to date on all royalties for the group and have removed said intellectual property from their servers.[45][46][47]

In January 2017, Norwegian newspaper Dagens Næringsliv reported that it had received internal documents disclosing lower subscriber counts than had been publicly announced by Tidal and its owners, having only 350,000 users in September 2015 (contradicting a claim by Jay Z that the service had a million users), and 850,000 subscribers by March 2016, rather than the 3 million claimed by the service (which may have been inflated by including users that were using a free trial).[48][49]

Subscription plans[edit]

Map of global availability of Tidal
Global availability of Tidal

As of February 2017, Tidal is available in 52 countries.[1] As of February 2016, the two Tidal subscriptions are listed below. However, prices differ from country to country, according to local market standards.[50]

No free option is available.

Name Price per month Free of Ads Listening time High fidelity, lossless audio Bitrate Codec
Tidal Premium[15]
Yes Unlimited No 320 kbit/s or 96 kbit/s (mobile)[51] AAC (All supported operating systems)[51]
Tidal HiFi[15]
  • USD $19.99
  • GBP £19.99
  • EUR €19.99
Yes Unlimited Yes variable[51] FLAC (Android/Windows), ALAC (iOS/macOS),[51] MQA (desktop app)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Which countries is TIDAL available?". TIDAL. Retrieved 27 February 2017. 
  2. ^ "Tidal.com Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved January 24, 2017. 
  3. ^ a b "TIDAL Music AB - Företagsinformation". www.allabolag.se (in Swedish). Retrieved 6 February 2017. 
  4. ^ a b Yoo, Noah (April 1, 2015). "The Full Transcript Of Jay Z's Tidal Q&A At The Clive Davis Institute Of Recorded Music". The Fader. Retrieved April 2, 2015. 
  5. ^ a b "Tidal launches in five more European countries". Music Week. January 22, 2015. Retrieved March 23, 2015. 
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ "Jay Z Buys the Music Streaming Firm, Aspiro". The New York Times. March 13, 2015. Retrieved March 23, 2015. 
  8. ^ Grebey, James (March 30, 2015). "Jay Z's New Tidal Streaming Service Has Turned Everybody's Avatar Blue". Spin. Retrieved April 1, 2015. 
  9. ^ a b Flanagan, Andrew (March 30, 2015). "It's Official: Jay Z's Historic Tidal Launches With 16 Artist Stakeholders". Billboard. Retrieved March 31, 2015. 
  10. ^ "Second Quarter 2014 presentation" (PDF). Aspiro. July 17, 2014. Retrieved April 1, 2015. 
  11. ^ "Jay Z's TIDAL Fully Integrates WiMP Streaming Service". Billboard. March 23, 2015. Retrieved April 1, 2015. 
  12. ^ TIDALHiFi (April 1, 2015). "TIDAL on Twitter" (Tweet) – via Twitter. 
  13. ^ a b "Jay Z's music-streaming service Tidal sells 33% stake to Sprint". VentureBeat. Retrieved 2017-01-23. 
  14. ^ "Tidal launches lossless music streaming in UK and US". The Telegraph. October 28, 2014. Retrieved March 23, 2015. 
  15. ^ a b c Gilbert, David (March 30, 2015). "Tidal launch livestream: Watch Jay Z relaunching high fidelity music streaming service". International Business Times. Retrieved March 30, 2015. 
  16. ^ a b c d Sanders, Sam (April 1, 2015). "Jay Z's Music Service, Tidal, Arrives With A Splash, And Questions Follow". Georgia Public Broadcasting. Retrieved April 1, 2015. 
  17. ^ "Uppgifter: Musikbolaget Tidal sparkar sina anställda i Sverige". Breakit. April 16, 2015. Retrieved April 16, 2015. 
  18. ^ "Här är Tidals uttalande ord för ord". Breakit. April 16, 2015. Retrieved April 16, 2015. 
  19. ^ "Tidal appoints former SoundCloud exec as new CEO, its third in eight months". The Verge. Retrieved 2015-12-02. 
  20. ^ Vincent, James (23 January 2017). "Sprint just bought 33 percent of Jay Z's Tidal streaming service". The Verge. Retrieved 23 January 2017. 
  21. ^ "Jay Z relaunches Tidal with music's biggest artists as his co-owners". The Verge. March 30, 2015. Retrieved March 31, 2015. 
  22. ^ Inveterate (March 31, 2015). "Tidal: Jay Z, Kanye West, Madonna, And More Announce New High-Fidelity Streaming Service". Inveterate. Retrieved March 31, 2015. 
  23. ^ 1:44 video mark
  24. ^ Young, Alex (March 31, 2015). "TIDAL debuts with exclusive releases from The White Stripes, Daft Punk, and Arcade Fire". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved March 31, 2015. 
  25. ^ TIDALHiFi (April 1, 2015). "TIDAL on Twitter" (Tweet) – via Twitter. 
  26. ^ "Beyoncé's Anniversary Present To Jay Z Is This 'Die With You' Video On Tidal". MTV News. April 4, 2015. Retrieved April 5, 2015. 
  27. ^ TIDALHiFi (April 1, 2015). "TIDAL on Twitter" (Tweet) – via Twitter. 
  28. ^ "Madonna, Minaj among owners of Jay Z's new streaming service, Tidal". CBC News. Associated Press. March 31, 2015. Retrieved March 31, 2015. 
  29. ^ "Jay Z promotes 'artist-owned' music streaming brand". Nkojomensah. March 31, 2015. Retrieved March 31, 2015. 
  30. ^ Lunden, Ingrid (March 30, 2015). "Tidal Confirms Partnership With Sprint Owner Softbank For Its Artist Co-Owned Music Service". TechCrunch. Retrieved March 31, 2015. 
  31. ^ Atkinson, Claire (April 1, 2015). "Sprint, Softbank purchase stake in Jay Z's Tidal". New York Post. Retrieved April 2, 2015. 
  32. ^ "Lil Wayne Joins TIDAL". BallerStatus.com. June 4, 2015. 
  33. ^ "T.I. Signs Distribution Deal With Roc Nation, Becomes Latest Co-Owner of Tidal". Billboard. 
  34. ^ "Jay Z's TIDAL App Falls Out Of Top 700 iPhone Apps Chart". BallerStatus.com. April 21, 2015. Retrieved April 22, 2015. 
  35. ^ Peoples, Glenn (March 31, 2015). "3 Reasons Why Jay Z's Tidal Is Good for the Music Business -- Even If It Fails". Billboard. Retrieved April 1, 2015. 
  36. ^ Peters, Micah (March 31, 2015). "3 reasons why Jay Z's new Tidal streaming service is stupid". For The Win USA Today. Retrieved March 31, 2015. 
  37. ^ "Lily Allen fears Tidal will cripple music industry". UTV. March 31, 2015. Retrieved March 31, 2015. 
  38. ^ "Jay Z Announces "Tidal X: Jaÿ-Z B-Sides" Concert Featuring Rare Music". Pitchfork Media. April 29, 2015. Retrieved May 19, 2015. 
  39. ^ reporter, Zoe Kleinman Technology; News, B. B. C. "Kanye West album 'pirated 500,000 times' already". BBC News. Retrieved 2016-02-24. 
  40. ^ "Jay Z promotes 'artist-owned' music streaming brand". BBC News. March 31, 2015. Retrieved March 15, 2015. 
  41. ^ "Apple Will Charge You 30% More If You Subscribe to TIDAL on iOS". Retrieved February 16, 2016. 
  42. ^ "TIDAL · High Fidelity Music Streaming". Retrieved 14 January 2016. 
  43. ^ TIDALHiFi (April 1, 2015). "Around 75% of the monthly subscription is passed back to music labels etc who then distribute to artists & songwriters" (Tweet) – via Twitter. 
  44. ^ "Mint Royale on Tidal streaming". storify.com. March 31, 2015. Retrieved March 31, 2015. 
  45. ^ "Tidal fires its CFO and COO". The Verge. Retrieved 2016-03-03. 
  46. ^ "Jay Z and Tidal Are Reportedly Facing a Lawsuit Over Failing To Pay Artist Royalties (UPDATE)". Complex. Retrieved 2016-03-03. 
  47. ^ "Yesh Music v. S Carter Enterprises - class action complaint royalties TIDAL.pdf". Scribd. Retrieved 2016-03-03. 
  48. ^ "Jay Z's Tidal Streaming Service May Have Inflated Subscriber Numbers (Report)". Variety. Retrieved 21 January 2017. 
  49. ^ "Tidal may have been inflating its subscriber numbers". The Verge. Retrieved 21 January 2017. 
  50. ^ "How Much Does TIDAL Cost?". Tidal FAQ. Retrieved June 24, 2015. 
  51. ^ a b c d "How Good Is The Sound Quality On TIDAL?". Tidal FAQ. Retrieved April 1, 2015. 

External links[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.fiercewireless.com/story/sprint-updates-virgins-prepaid-pricing-options-kills-paylo-broadband2go-sub/2016-02-02