Tidal has officially launched, can it compete with Spotify?

TidalThis week has seen the re-launch of the music streaming service, Tidal, since it was bought for $54 million by Jay Z. There was a live online stream of the ‘official launch’ which saw 16 artists such as Kanye West, Beyonce, Nicki Minaj and J Cole attend as co-owners of the service.

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Before I go any further, I have to say I’m a big fan of Jay Z and pretty much all the artists involved in the project, I think they’re amongst the most powerful, popular voices in music today. The hook that was being used to plug this service to us, the potential consumers, was that this is the first artist owned streaming service. Great for them I’m sure, they’re all great at what they do so why shouldn’t they have the power to control their work.

However for us, as the public, the only real points that was offered was that we get “incredible” audio quality and ‘exclusive’ Tidal content, such as videos. The price per month of their premium service? $20 a month.

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Because I’m such a fan of some of the artists involved in this, obviously I’d like it to do well for their sake. But between Jay Z and Beyonce there’s close to a billion dollars of net worth alone so they’re not in the worst position in the world if it did go wrong. I pay Spotify Premium every month, as a student I get 50% off so that costs me £4.99. I’ve basically got all the music there I could really ever want and more, plus it saves memory on my phone.

Can this elite group of people stand on stage and offer me a service that is four times the price of my current subscription, just to see a few “exclusive videos” that will wind up on Twitter or YouTube anyway? Or to hear audio that sounds better? It’d be nice to have those things no doubt, but until I hear it for myself I’m couldn’t tell you if it’s worth the extra £15 a month.

A bit of research online shows that even the layout of Tidal, in comparison to Spotify is almost identical, which was quickly picked up on by Twitter users.

However as mentioned before, I haven’t actually tried it for myself yet so I cannot write a whole post on it’s negative points.

I’ve probably been over-critical and I’m only basing this on what I’ve seen SO FAR. Maybe they can deliver changes to music together, but I’m not 100% sure the music streaming industry needed a revolution right now. But it’s a start.

The service is running out a kind of ‘By the artist, for the artist’ message, which I completely agree with. At the minute artists earn $0.007 per stream of their song on Spotify. Given the fact that they not only make money from the premium users, they also have adverts on the free version, Spotify is making millions a year but not really offering much back to paying customers. I may have been slightly critical earlier of the exclusive content found on Tidal, but it’s a welcome addition to these sort of services in all honesty. Beyonce herself released a new song and video on the service this week, whilst Jay Z shared one of his playlists. It’s almost a more personal connection from artist to consumer.

There’s been a fair share of criticism online and on social media about it all. But according to the Wikipedia page, 550,000 paying users are already signed up in week one. Spotify currently has over 60 million users, so there’s a long way to go, but it’s far from a bad start. Shares of the company “spiked 938% on Tuesday” too, according to Business Insider UK’s article (http://uk.businessinsider.com/aspiro-surged-on-jay-z-tiday-announcement-2015-4). There are some flaws here, but I’m almost positive nobody strikes gold at the first time of asking. To have such creative minds owning and controlling such a potentially huge service is exciting.

Complex Magazine carried out an experiment on the streets of New York to see if they could tell the difference between Spotify and Tidal’s sound.

Those who re-launched Tidal may be in that elite 1% of the population, but you can’t deny they haven’t got the talent and determination. Without it they’d be nowhere near the people they are today. Plus, you’d expect that with their combined knowledge of music, it’d be virtually impossible to do anything other than succeed with this service.

Who knows what COULD happen if they put their collective thoughts together for other purposes as well as this?


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