A Review of Jay-Z’s New Venture: TIDAL Music Streaming Service

tidal launc ceremony jay z review

Unless you were not online during the last week, you would most likely have heard all the buzz about the new music streaming service ‘TIDAL’. A US$ 50 million deal transferred the ownership of TIDAL’s parent company, ‘Aspiro’, to Jay-Z and the other co-owners Calvin Harris and Chris Martin. But Jay-Z says TIDAL is an artist-owned business. There is no one owners, but a collective of artists independent of their record labels, doing what they want, as they want.

What is TIDAL?

TIDAL logo

TIDAL logo. (Credits: TIDAL.com)

TIDAL in it’s basic sense is an online music streaming website. You’ve used Spotify? Yes, this is the same–only difference is, TIDAL is targeting a much exclusive market segment. #TIDALforALL is their slogan, but we are yet to see how practical that is.

Why Now?

Why do we need another music streaming website now? Spotify was in a lot of heat towards the end of last year, when artists claimed their music shouldn’t be allowed to stream for free. Obviously it hurts album sales and Taylor Swift took the initiative and took ‘1989’ album off of Spotify. Following this decision, several other artists took steps to take down their albums off of Spotify too. Although Spotify claims to compensate the artists for the streamed music, the artists claim the compensation is nearly not sufficient compared to the sales they lose from singles and albums sales. Spotting this opportunity, Jay-Z bought TIDAL and relaunched it as an exclusive-high quality-expensive music streaming website.

This is what Jay-Z wants to accomplish with the new music streaming website:

“We didn’t like the direction music was going and thought maybe we could get in and strike an honest blow. Will artists make more money? Even if it means less profit for our bottom line, absolutely. That’s easy for us. We can do that. Less profit for our bottom line, more money for the artist. Fantastic.”

It is really good if this is the case. Artists deserve every penny they earn. If TIDAL stands to achieve that, we are in full support of them.

TIDAL: High Fidelity Music Streaming

One aspect we really love about TIDAL is their promise to deliver high quality music streaming. Online streaming is a tough job–the quality of music and smoothness of play depend on bits and bytes. The high fidelity music streamer promises lossless quality. Lossless quality is achieved by not compromising the original music quality the artists themselves wanted to hear. It is way better than AAC (iTunes) and general MP3 formats.

lossless vs mp3 vs aac tidal

TIDAL promises highest quality music streaming with lossless codecs.

However, Michael Brown (of TechHive) writes “But the one feature I want even more is for Tidal to fulfill its pre-acquisition commitment to stream tracks using Merdian’s MQA codec.”  Master Quality Authenticated (MQA) technology that “folds” lossless music files on various formats to make them more compact yet maintains the highest quality possible. So high, that the files themselves are signed off on, or “authenticated” by the artists themselves.  So there is an even better codec, possibly, coming up on TIDAL. If you are an audiophile, this is the streaming service you need to be subscribed to.

TIDAL also promises high definition music video streaming on their website. A collection of over 75,000 music videos and 25 million songs is what TIDAL prides themselves on right now. The numbers will increase in the future, as more and more artists embrace this company which promises a high return to the artists. Further exclusive interviews, news and what not will be premiered on the website too.

Pricing?

It was all awe-inspiring up until now. To provide you with the above facilities, TIDAL requires you to pay them a pretty high £19.99 (closer to US $30) per month subscription price. This is where TIDAL begins to lose the potential customers. Many reviews, comments, critics I read online mentioned this high price as a deal breaker. However, they do have another subscription deal for £9.99 (US $15 roughly) per month. Of course, the £9.99 subscription doesn’t allow you to access lossless music quality, and you are left with standard Spotify quality. So why do customers want to use TIDAL? For morality, maybe?

To Subscribe or Not to Subscribe?

At the end of the day, it all boils down to your choice. If you are an audiophile with some cash to burn, we can highly recommend TIDAL as your one stop music supplier. But if you prefer a cheaper service, compromising music quality, you can still opt for the £9.99 subscription deal on TIDAL. If you don’t want to spend anything, Spotify is your place. But using TIDAL will ensure that your favorite artists are properly compensated for the joy they bring in to your life. It is a big deal. So it is your choice, there’s nobody stopping you.

But, let me tell you, lossless music is awesome!

rihanna-nicki-minaj-madonna-deadmau5-kanye-west-jay-z-and-j-cole-onstage-at-the-tidal-launch-event-tidalforall-at-skylight-at-moynihan-station-on-march-30-2015-in-new-york-city

The star-studded launch ceremony of TIDAL, which included Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, J Cole, DeadMau5, Kanye West, Jay-z, Madonna and Alicia Keys.

Alicia Keys had something inspiring to tell us all;

Jimi Hendrix once said ‘Music doesn’t lie, if there is something to be changed in the world, it can only be done through music’. How many times music has changed the world and shaped our culture? How many times it personally picked you up and reminded you you can do it again? We come together before you on this day with one voice in unity, in the hopes that today will be that moment in time that will forever change music in history.”

So what is your move?

Leave a comment with your thoughts on TIDAL.