Jay Z’s TIDAL Streaming Service Threatens Spotify, Pandora

Spotify, Pandora and other premium music-streaming services have a new competitor this week, and this new competitor is owned by the very artists that have been battling these services in recent years over the amount they get paid when their music is streamed. The competitor in question is called TIDAL, and was introduced this week at a star-clad event that included rap mogul Jay Z, the majority owner of the service. The launch was hyped by dozens of musicians in recent weeks, including Alicia Keys, Madonna, Kanye West, Daft Punk and more. In addition to posting the phrase “#TIDALforALL”, participating artists also changed their avatars on social media to blue.

Initially launched in October 2014, TIDAL was already a viable streaming service before Jay Z bought it for $56 million in January. The rapper then turned his attention to bringing in other musician investors to create the world’s first artist-owned music streaming service. Revealed at this week’s launch event, those other investors are Jay Z’s wife Beyonce, Alicia Keys, Rihanna, Jack White, Kanye West, Usher, Nicki Minaj, Arcade Fire, Daft Punk, Deadmau5, Calvin Harris, Jason Aldean, J. Cole and Coldplay frontman Chris Martin.

Unlike Spotify and Pandora, TIDAL will not offer a free, ad-based streaming service, charging a $10 per month subscription fee at the base level. The service also has a $20 per month subscription model with higher-quality audio. In addition to its higher-quality audio, TIDAL also hopes to lure customers from other streaming services through exclusive deals with artists, including the company’s 16 owners. Getting artists to sign on shouldn’t be difficult for the service, either, as TIDAL claims to pay out nearly three times the royalties offered by Spotify. Feedback from the industry has been mixed, so far, with many applauding the involvement of actual musicians in the streaming industry. Others fear, however, that TIDAL’s exclusive deals with artists and high price tag will lead to a jump in piracy.