By Morgan Quinn
Jay-Z is trying to make music history with Tidal, his music streaming service that launched on Monday. To help promote the service, Kanye West, Rihanna, Coldplay, Jack White, Madonna and (of course) Beyonce turned their Twitter profile pictures turquoise and tweeted with the hashtag #TidalForAll.
Tidal is expected to compete with Spotify, Deezer and other streaming services, including the soon-to-be-relaunched Beats Music from Apple and YouTube's Music Key. In a news release, the company described Tidal as "a single destination for artists and fans to share ideas, exclusive content, songs, videos, studio sessions, rough tracks, personal conversations and more."
According to the Guardian, Tidal was first launched in October 2014 by Norwegian firm Aspiro. Earlier this month, Project Panther Bidco, a Jay-Z-controlled company, purchased Aspiro for $56 million.
Tidal charges a monthly fee of $19.99, which is double that of Spotify's subscription service, but its key feature is its "lossless" sound quality. That means users bigger files so the quality of sound is not compromised when music is streamed through a variety of audio products, including portable players.
Business Insider reviewer James Cook noted that Tidal "is big on curated playlists," but does have flaws, like "a search for 'Jay Z' doesn't show his music (you have to include the hyphen)."
Why Spotify Should Worry About Tidal
Spotify reached 10 million paid subscribers last year. However, Tidal has an impressive roster of artists backing the new streaming site. Taylor Swift has already removed her catalog from Spotify's streaming service, and if Tidal can lure enough big artists away from Spotify, then the company might become a major contender in the music streaming space.
A Showbiz report contained leaked information that Jay-Z convened a secret summit of artists, including Madonna, Kanye West, Daft Punk, Nicki Minaj, Jack White and Rihanna to outline his grand plans for "a streaming and video service akin to the old United Artists pictures, in which artists would actually profit from their art and put out quality material."
Insiders speculate that Tidal is offering better deals to artists, which could entice them to also move their discographies over to the new service. If Spotify loses a significant number of their major artists to Tidal, it's very likely their users will follow suit. And if that happens, Spotify will definitely have a lot more than 99 problems -- and Jay-Z is sure to be one.