Tidal is an online music streaming service that launched last year in Sweden. But Jay Z acquired the company and he’s relaunching it with support of a large group of musicians today.

At a launch event Tidal was described as the first artist-owned global music entertainment platform, and a group of musicians were introduced as its owners, including Alicia Keys, Beyoncé, Daft Punk, Kanye West, Jason Aldean, Nicki Minaj, Jack White, Madonna, Rihanna, Usher, Jason Aldean, and members of Coldplay and Arcade Fire.

So what exactly is Tidal?


It’s an online music streaming service much like Spotify, Rdio, or Google Play. But it promises “CD quality” high-definition music streaming and “curated editorial” content.

In addition to streaming music over the internet, users can download songs for offline listening.

Subscriptions used to go for $20 per month, but Tidal subscriptions are now available for $10 per month if you don’t mind listening to compressed audio. Uncompressed, high-quality audio subscriptions will still be available for $20.

Tidal offers a 30-day free trial, but unlike rivals such as Spotify, the company doesn’t offer any free, ad-supported options once your trial period is up.

There are at least two things that will help set Tidal apart from the competition: the focus on high quality audio and the promise of exclusive content. Sure, every music streaming service tries to offer content that’s exclusively available through that service… but an artist-owned network has a bit of an edge. Don’t be surprised to find content from the musicians who have an ownership stake in Tidal that’s not available on other platforms.

Tidal could also be a better deal for artists: it promises to pay twice the regular royalty rates… or at least it will for subscribers that sign up for the $20 per month plan. What remains to be seen is whether there’s much demand for a service that costs twice as much as the alternatives, even if it does promise better-sounding audio.

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10 replies on “Tidal offers high-def music streaming for $20 per month (or compressed audio for $10)”

  1. I think many people misunderstand. $10 a month is comparable to other services and the compressed audio should also be comparable. The $20 option is for audiophiles. My question is more what artists are available. There are VERY FEW songs from the owners mentioned in the article that I care about. But if there is actually music that I like I could definitely go for the audiophile option sometime in the near future (need to upgrade my sound system sometime this year first or there’s no point).

    1. So you’d rather give your money to faceless record company execs than the the people who made the music? Better quality audio too – although you can pay 10 bucks for the stuff the other players do.

      Sure this a bunch of big players who are not short of a dollar or two who have organised this but it is a better deal for minor artists.

  2. Finally, a chance for Madonna, Jay Z and Rihanna to make a reasonable living from their music.

  3. I don’t think that there are many consumers that will want to pay over twice the market rate so that artists can be compensated twice as much. A bad business decision. This product demonstrates a complete misunderstanding of how the free market works.

    1. I think paying twice the royalty rate is a bonus, and not a feature. The quality streaming option will appeal to the audiophiles who want the highest quality music.

      Although, with mobile probably being the primary platform of choice, selling a high quality stream might not work as well as expected.

  4. It maybe good for the artists, but Beyonce and Jay-Z and (who is) Madonna (???) aren’t exactly good examples of struggling people you want to support for their art.

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