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JAY-Z TIDAL WAVE TO TAKE OUT SPOTIFY

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31 March 2015

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Usher, Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, Madonna, Deadmau5, Kanye West and J. Cole were among the artists who joined Jay Z for the launch of Tidal (image: Jamie McCarthy / Getty Images).

Jay-Z has officially re-launched Tidal, the HD music and video streaming service, enlisting top selling artists in a co-ownership bid with musicians.

We may have called this earlier this year, back when Jay-Z’s company purchased the Swedish company Aspiro for $56-million, gaining with it both Tidal and another music streaming service, WiMP (article link). Although, it wasn’t too much of a stretch to see why the rapper would want to buy the service, what we didn’t foresee at the time was how he would divvy up the profit.

Jay-Z has opened up the majority of Tidal’s ownership to other artists, giving them a major stakehold in a service that has traditionally been out of their control – how people consume their music.

“This is a platform that’s owned by artists. We are treating these people that really care about the music with the utmost respect,” Jay-Z told an interviewer last week. 

The plan was unveiled earlier today at a press conference in Manhattan, attended by over a dozen artists that have been identified as new owners of Tidal.

Pushing the hashtag #TidalForAll, artists such as Madonna, Daft Punk, Taylor Swift, Kanye, Rhianna, Arcade Fire and (Jay-Z’s wife) Beyonce stood alongside the rapper, all signing unspecified ‘declarations’. Alecia Keys read out a statement on behalf of Jay-Z and his co-owners, saying the group wanted “to forever change the course of music history.”

“The challenge is to get everyone to respect music again, to recognise its value,” Jay Z, told the New York Times. “Water is free. Music is $6 but no one wants to pay for music. You should drink free water from the tap — it’s a beautiful thing. And if you want to hear the most beautiful song, then support the artist.”

Music streaming has been a hotly contested space in the last few years, with the Worldwide Independent Network last year creating a ‘fair digital deals declaration’, the initiative called for the fair and transparent accounting of digital revenues for artists, which saw over 700 indie labels supporting it (article link). The initiative coincided with Youtube’s removal of videos from (already partnered) indie artists who refused to sign on to its new streaming service, which we covered in our article at the time – Youtube: Indie Artist’s Fight Back (article link).

Mick Glossop from the Music Producers Guild (which threw its support behind the initiate) said, “The music industry has a long history of unfairly exploiting the work of artists without whose creativity the industry would simply not exist.”

Beyonce looking like a new vocalist for Daft Punk (image: Getty).
Beyonce looking like a new vocalist for Daft Punk (image: Getty).

Whether or not Tidal is prepared to do the same deal with indie artists, remains to be seen. What we do know however, is that Tidal in the past has paid artists twice the royalties of other services, something the re-launched Jay-Z owned service confirmed this morning it will continue to do.

However, doubling the royalties for artists doesn’t come cheap, with subscriptions prices also being twice that of similar services, starting at US$9.99 for standard definition and US$19.99 for lossless HiFi streaming, with no free, advertiser-supported version.

Tidal is available now throughout Australia, Europe, the UK and the USA; with an extensive back catalogue of music (25-million tracks and 75,000 music videos), and partnership/integration agreements signed with over thirty major audio manufacturers.

It’s really only a matter of time before the rest of the world catches on to Jay-Z’s dream of HD music for all.

For more info, check: tidal.com

Kanye West takes the pen for his turn at signing the declaration (image: Getty).
Kanye West takes the pen for his turn at signing the declaration (image: Getty).

 

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Issue 93

REVIEWED

Ableton Live 12
What’s in. What’s out. What to expect.