Jay-Z bought Tidal, a Scandinavian streaming service, earlier this year, and launched it today (March 30) with a star-studded event
in New York City.
Beyonce, Rihanna, Usher, Kanye West, Calvin Harris, deadmau5, J. Cole, Coldplay's Chris Martin, and Nicki Minaj were just some musicians in attendance.
A source reportedly told Billboard
that each of the invited artists own 3% equity in Tidal, and Jay-Z owns the rest of the company.
The launch streamed live, with both artists and supporters of the service using #Tidal4All on social media.
"We want to create a better service and better experience for fans and for artists," singer Alicia Keys said. She took to the stage to give a speech explaining Tidal's goals.
Tidal already stands out--although whether that's a good thing or not is up for debate. It doesn't offer a free tier; instead, customers have a choice between the $9.99 per month service and the $19.99 service.
The cheaper subscription allows for "standard definition" sound quality. The extra $10 provides users with unlimited high-resolution, which apparently isn't even noticeable without Sonos speakers or Wi-Fi based streaming.
Of course, Tidal, which sits at just 540,000 users right now, is up against Spotify and Beats (recently acquired by computer giant Apple).
"Tidal will come from an artist's perspective, Spotify from the tech perspective and Apple from their perspective," John McFarlane, CEO of Sonos, said.
However, it's not just about the sound, it seems. Tidal will offer exclusive content for fans: rough tracks, studio sessions, and more as it expands its service within the next few months.
"Those involved have a passion for music. I think it's one of the things that sets us aside from someone that's a tech company that is selling advertisement or selling hardware. Right now, they are writing a story for us. We need to write the story for ourselves," Jay-Z said in a video made public after the launch.
It probably won't be smooth sailing; an anti-Tidal hashtag has already surfaced: #TIDALFORNOONE.
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