The basics - What is Tidal?
Tidal is a new music streaming service that will offer high fidelity sound quality, HD music videos and expertly Curated Editorial. In a nutshell, Tidal will be a hybrid of Spotify, Vimeo and perhaps even our high fashion online zines of choice (I mean surely, if Kanye is involved). Apart from promising the highest quality in sound and video, Tidal are also making sure that their service is available when youre offline excellent if you like to blast tunes whilst on road trips to Byron and your service provider is anybody but Telstra.
How is this any different from Spotify or Vimeo?
The major difference is that youre getting both music and video in the same place, something Spotify does not offer and Vimeo (or Youtube) generally dont have excellent sound quality either. Thats the technical difference. The big campaign behind Tidal however is not about its features but about the fact that it is owned directly by a group of musicians rather than corporations.
Wait who owns it?
Musicians namely- Jay Z, Alicia Keys, Win Butler & Régine Chassagne (of Arcade Fire), Beyonce, Calvin Harris, Chris Martin (of Coldplay), Daft Punk, Jack White, Jason Aldean, J. Cole, Kanye West, Deadmau5, Madonna, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna and Usher.
During the press conference yesterday in which Tidal was officially re-launched, all of the above artists stood united together on the same stage in a very Hunger-games-esque moment of rebellion (Calvin & Chris were there via video screens but hey, they tried). As a very excited Alicia Keys gave a speech about the new service in which she didnt actually say a whole lot except that what they were doing was so powerful. So of course, many are still a bit confused as to why Tidal is such a big deal.
Do you know why?
Tidal is going to be the first streaming service in which artists are calling the shots and setting the standards, so yeah its a big f**cking deal. Currently a streaming service like Spotify pays artists an appalling amount in royalties. To put it into perspective if youre an emerging Sydney artist and you manage to get your song streaming in the playlist, Triple Js Hitlist and by some miracle Spotify users play your song a total of 50 000 times youre going to make about $260 (and thats before your label/agency/management take their cut). That. Is. Horrendous considering so much money (and heart) go into the writing and recording of new material. Maybe most of you dont give a shit about how much of your $9.99 a month subscription is going towards the musicians but you should, because sooner or later that music might just stop Cant keep releasing new tunes if you got no cash flow, son!
Tidal is the first streaming company that is fighting to take back what rightfully belongs to the artist and that alone should be worth the $19.99 a month.
$11.99 a month? Thats daylight robbery!
No, the two $10 burgers youll eat at Grilld this month are daylight robbery. This is a small price to pay to put some of the cash and power back in the hands of the people who are constantly giving to the rest of us with their songs.
If AUD$11.99 (or AUD$23.99 for premium) is too big a stretch for you, Tidal is offering a $9.99 a month package in which the song quality is only at standard definition (which unless youre a tech/audio geek or a muso, you probably wont notice the difference anyway). The difference in price to the musicians however is that Tidal are offering their artist double the standard royalty rate if you buy into their premium music package so if you can bear to part with $20 a month (which if youre honest you probably can) I would suggest going with this package as you are aiding the growth of a company that will hopefully do great things in the long term.
Great things? Like what?
Tidal is essentially Jay Zs baby and maybe thats got you making weird illuminati signs at your screen and calling this whole thing bullshit but put your stupid conspiracy theories away for two minutes to consider a future where musicians are calling the shots on what happens to their own music. The promise Jay & the team at Tidal have made is that the service will be constantly evolving my personal hope is that involves taking on artists who may not see a dollar for their craft otherwise. The owners board is currently filled with some of the richest and most influential artists alive today but perhaps there will be a future for Tidal where a small indie band from Ulladulla can move out of their parents basement because companies like Tidal have payed them for their hard work and their gift to the rest of us.
As Alicia Keys so cleverly pointed out in her keynote speech, Friedrich Nietzsche once said, Without music, life would be a mistake.
So maybe its time to give back some, huh?