FANGLE Music: New Music Streaming Service Breaks Onto the Scene

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Culture Staff Writer | Katie Flowers | kf163911@ohio.edu

tidalbToday’s culture is highly modern and digitized, compared to what it was several years ago. Now, much of life, especially those of the Millennial generation, is spent online. It’s where we get our news, communicate with others and share our thoughts through social media platforms. It is also often used to stream and listen to music through websites such as Pandora and Spotify. Although these websites are currently the leading music streaming services, a new platform may soon stand as a competitor. 

On March 30, Jay-Z announced the launch of his new streaming site named Tidal. According to its website, Tidal’s mission statement is “Introducing the first music streaming service that combines the best high fidelity sound quality, high definition music videos and expertly curated editorial.”

One of the driving points of Tidal is giving artists more of the revenue they believe they are entitled to from allowing their music to be streamed. The service carries 25 million songs as well as 75,000 videos. Offering music videos make Tidal stand out against its competition, since no others currently offer such.

Incorporation of videos isn’t the only thing that makes Tidal special. It also offers articles about what’s going on in the music industry, as well as interviews with artists. Several big-name artists who will act as equity partners for the music site are also backing Tidal. Some of these musicians include Beyoncé, Kanye West, Daft Punk, Madonna, Nicki Minaj, Chris Martin, Jack White and Rihanna. The artist-owned company is a response to upsets with the loss of profit from their material from mostly free streaming services like Pandora and Spotify.

tidalaAccording to an article from Yahoo News about the launch press conference, Alicia Keys hinted she and other artists might exclusively release material on Tidal. This has the potential to change online streaming dramatically. Jay-Z has already pulled his debut album, which some consider his best, from Spotify in exchange for Tidal exclusivity, and other artists may follow suit. According to CNBC, Jay-Z has acquired most of Taylor Swift’s music after she made headlines a few months ago when she pulled all of her records from Spotify amid a dispute. If other artists decided to pull their music from free-based streaming, these services might not be able to survive.

Exactly how much of a threat Tidal will be to current music streaming sites isn’t clear yet. It is a costly service, with monthly ad-free subscriptions ranging from $9.99 to $19.99. The CNBC article also stated that Twitter users have been expressing concerns over the high subscription price as well as a risk of piracy. Artist Lily Allen tweeted her disapproval of Tidal by saying the high price tag and the attempt to make some of the biggest performers exclusive to the service will only increase music piracy, as well as hurt up-and-coming artists.

Only time will tell if Tidal will be a successful competitor in the online music streaming market. If music fans are willing to pay the pricey fee and more artists back it, Tidal has a good chance to hang around for a while.

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