Jay Z has launched a new high-fidelity music streaming service.
Tidal hosts a library of more than 25 million songs and about 75,000 music videos. Fans can sign up for the service by selecting one of two plans: the premium high-definition tier, which streams music in hi-fi and costs $19.99/month; or the standard-definition tier, which streams music in lower quality and costs $9.99/month. There is a no free option; however a discounted student tier is forthcoming.
The service will face stiff competition from Spotify, Pandora and several others, but Tidal claims to stand out by offering hi-fi audio and providing exclusive content from participating artists. It is also positioning itself as the company that more generously compensates artists for the rights to stream their music.
Jay Z said, “This is a platform that’s owned by artists. We are treating these people that really care about the music with the utmost respect. The challenge is to get everyone to respect music again, to recognize its value.”
Several artists have already started releasing Tidal-exclusive content, including the New York mogul’s wife Beyoncé, and singers Rihanna and Erykah Badu. But many question whether the promise of select content will be enough to lure consumers away from cheaper options. “I think Jay Z is about to find out the limits of his celebrity,” one venture capitalist told The New York Times.
However, the rapper seems to be defining success on his own terms. “We’re actually here to improve the landscape. If just the presence of Tidal causes other companies to have better pay structure, or to pay more attention to it moving forward, then we’ve been successful in one way,” Jay Z said.