TIDAL is changing how it does business and that’s going to be very good long-term for both listeners and artists. The digital streaming platform is taking rather significant steps to improve how artists are compensated for their work; a massive issue that is a big problem for the vast majority of artists who have to rely on touring, physical media sales, and merchandise to make a living.
TIDAL released a statement on its website earlier today that makes it rather clear that they are flipping over the table and creating a more equitable situation for artists and creating greater transparency so that consumers can see how their digital streaming choices impact their favorite artists whose music they enjoy on a daily basis.
Spotify is on notice here for sure. The world’s largest streaming platform is not a great source of revenue for indie artists and it’s time that changes. The music labels might have to stop being so greedy and pay artists properly but it’s clear that TIDAL is taking those giant steps to make things better; not perfect but it’s a good start.
In 2015, when a group of top artists, led by JAY-Z, purchased TIDAL, a small-but-fierce player in music streaming, it was done with a belief that artists should be paid fairly for their songs, especially considering the outsize importance that music holds in all our lives.
Its new owners ventured that passionate music fans (i.e., you) would take fairness into consideration when deciding to pay to experience music in the highest fidelity available, and for access to expertly curated playlists and live events. But the decision did require a leap of faith on their part.
Their faith was rewarded, and today, we at TIDAL are upping our game, convinced that, through new product offerings, we’ll be able to enhance the artist-fan experience to where even more music aficionados (i.e., you) will welcome the opportunity to get even closer to the artists you love.
For the past six years, the TIDAL team has been working feverishly to introduce people to our streaming service. We’ve done so by offering a more intimate connection between music enthusiasts and creators through intuitive playlist curation and culturally important content creation, and by hosting memorable live-streamed concerts and events.
We’ve also been paying artists a substantially higher per-stream rate than the other streaming services, and treating sound quality as a non-negotiable product feature.
TIDAL has always been comfortable as the home for the audiophiles, the crate diggers and the music nerds. We’re not for everyone, just the people who care more about music than the average fan. (Sound like anyone you know?)
Our subscribers really care about music, are loyal, and they’ve come this far on our journey. We’re hoping that the new stuff we are about to begin rolling out will compel them to continue and to bring their friends along.
Since we were acquired in April by Square, our energy has been spent on developing those new product features that deliver on TIDAL’s mission to create a sustainable, artist-first business model for the music industry.
If it sounds as if we’re still out here calling for the music industry to put artists first, we have no issue with that. And if that seems like a lofty goal to you, we agree there, too.
That ethos has been part of Square’s DNA since its 2009 launch, when founders Jack Dorsey and Jim McKelvey decided that economic empowerment was a central tenet to fairness and justice.
And so, our updated offerings include additional and enhanced subscription tiers— including TIDAL’s first-ever free music tier — direct-to-artist payments, fan-centered royalties, and other initiatives.
With support from the vast majority of our record label and distributor partners, we’re making royalty payments more transparent for artists and rights holders, and more empowering for fans
And by working with payment services Square, Cash App, and PayPal, we’re looking to ensure quick and seamless payouts to artists. We’re also working with leading distributors CD Baby, DistroKid, Equity Distribution, STEM, Symphonic, Tunecore, and Vydia, to ensure artists sharing music through those platforms are also able to seamlessly receive their payments in the same way they always have.
And with all of that cooperation, we are also exposing TIDAL to more music enthusiasts, through a free tier experience. So if you were looking for a chance to put your friends onto TIDAL, this is it.
“We’re building a platform that values art, artists, and culture, and for the first time, opening the platform experience up to a wider group of fans with the free tier,” said Jesse Dorogusker, Head of TIDAL. “TIDAL is giving artists fairer earning terms and quicker payments, and fans are getting a better way to support their favorite artists. These offerings are the first step of many, as we’re excited to collaborate with artists to evolve our tools to help them continue to grow and create on their own terms.”
What do these product updates mean to you, the subscriber?
You will still have access to all the same top-shelf music and content but, if you are a member of our TIDAL HiFi Plus tier, you’ll gain first access to exclusive content, experiences and special offers, in addition to the product features that are still on our drawing board. And TIDAL will earmark a portion of your subscription fee for the artists you love.
What will these updates mean to the artistic community? That their members will finally get paid fairly (and quickly) for their life’s work. And that their devoted fan base can reward them directly for all those priceless memories.
For those of us at TIDAL, these product updates are placing us at the beginning of a journey to bring artists and fans closer together. And we can’t wait to help that along.
“I said from the beginning that TIDAL was about more than just streaming music,” JAY-Z tweeted after the deal was announced, “and six years later, it has remained a platform that supports artists at every point in their careers. Artists deserve better tools to assist them in their creative journey.”
TIDAL has also announced some changes to its streaming tiers.
New Tiers: Free, HiFi, and HiFi Plus
TIDAL now has three listening options for U.S. fans to choose from, each with access to the same catalog of 80+ million songs & videos. These new tiers are an important step allowing us to continue building products that empower both artists and fans.
We believe in the value of music. To remain competitive — and continue connecting artists and fans — we’re introducing a free tier. Fans can now try TIDAL at no cost, with access to our entire music catalog and playlists. All with limited interruptions. Try TIDAL Free.
$10 TIDAL HiFi
Starting today, everyone can access HiFi sound quality at our $10 tier — which we’re calling HiFi to make it easy. Today’s loyal TIDAL listeners at this tier will have their audio quality upgraded and will see a new activity feed so they can track their streaming. Try TIDAL HiFi.
TIDAL HiFi Plus
Fans at TIDAL’s HiFi Plus tier will have access to Master Quality Authenticated (MQA) audio and two completely new benefits for artists: Fan-Centered Royalties and Direct Artist Payouts. HiFi Plus listeners will also get access to exclusive content and even features before the rest of TIDAL’s listeners. Try TIDAL HiFi Plus.
Direct Artist Payouts
This innovative program will give artists access to another payment stream by allocating 10% of monthly subscriptions at the HiFi Plus tier to each listener’s most streamed artist. Direct Artist Payouts will allow artists to benefit directly from their biggest fans on TIDAL, and a new activity feed will show fans exactly where their money goes.
With TIDAL HiFi Plus, artists will see a significantly higher per-play-rate than the standard rate of other streaming services (you know the ones). Fan-Centered Royalties will not be aggregated. Instead, royalties will go to the artists that TIDAL users actually stream, so fans can directly support the artists they love. (What a concept, right?) Fans will start to see their streams add up in their activity feed in January 2022.
2021 TIDAL Plans Compared
|CD + MQA + Spatial
|Up to 160 kbps
|Up to 1411 kbps
|Up to 9216 kbps
|Limited ad interruptions
|Expert curated playlists
|Expert curated playlists
|Expert curated playlists
|Listen offline with unlimited skips
|Listen offline with unlimited skips
|Track and share your listening habits
|Track and share how your listening habits impact your favorite artists
|MQA, Dolby Atmos, Sony 360 Reality Audio, and HiFi
|Fan-Centered Royalties Coming in 2022
|The artists you stream get paid based on your streaming habits
|Direct Artist Payouts Up to 10% of your subscription is directed to the artists you listen to the most
|No credit card needed
|30 days free then $9.99 / month
|30 days free then $19.99 / month
|Try TIDAL HiFi
|Try TIDAL HiFi Plus