Tidal is a subscription-based music streaming service that rivals the likes of Spotify but targets audiophiles who want higher-quality, lossless audio. It also offers high-definition music videos and curated editorial content from big names in the music industry including its owner, Jay Z. See also: Best music streaming services 2015
Tidal is owned by Project Panther Ltd, Jay Z's business. In March, Project Panther's bought Aspiro, the Swedish company that first launched Tidal in 2014.
Jay Z isn't the only big name musician involved in Tidal, though. There are many others co-owners and stakeholders of the company, including Rihanna, Kanye West, Nicki Minaj, Jack White, Madonna, Arcade Fire, Usher, Chris Martin, Alicia Keys, Calvin Harris, Daft Punk, deadmau5, Drake and more, which is why it's being promoted as the first artist-owned streaming service.
As I'm sure you'll agree, these are pretty big names in the music industry, and it's likely that they'll release material exclusively on Tidal to entice more subscribers in the future. Rihanna has already exclusively released 'Bitch Better Have My Money,' on Tidal, while personally curated playlists from some of the artists are available to stream, too. There's also been a video of Beyoncé performing 'Die For You', which was the first time we heard the song, and Rihanna's new music video for 'American Oxygen.'
During Tidal's relaunch press conference at the end of March, all sixteen of the artists involved in the ownership of Tidal signed a declaration on stage, which read: "Tidal is an artist majority-owned company with a mission to re-establish the value of music and protect the sustainability of the music industry rooted in creativity and expression."
"As part of our vision to introduce change to the current system, we will continue expanding this platform into an all-encompassing destination in the coming months. We are working diligently everyday to enhance the overall service."
"We want our mission with Tidal to spark conversation and lay a foundation for tomorrow's burgeoning stars."
While there has been lots of praise for Tidal from the Billboard and other music magazines, not everyone agrees that it is a good idea. USA Today published an article titled "3 reasons why Jay Z's new Tidal streaming service is stupid," and highlighted that you need expensive, audiophile-quality headphones in order to get the most out of the high-fidelity tracks available, which most people won't have.
It's not just the press that has criticism of Tidal, either. Lily Allen wrote on Twitter: "I love Jay-Z so much, but Tidal is (so) expensive compared to other perfectly good streaming services, he's taken the biggest artists… Made them exclusive to Tidal (am I right in thinking this?), people are going to swarm back to pirate sites in droves."
How much does Tidal cost?
The Tidal Premium subscription, which gets you standard sound quality (though it's still AAC 320kbps like Spotify's Premium quality, high definition music videos and curated editorial is available for £9.99 per month, which is the same price as Spotify's Premium subscription plan.
If you're after the lossless High Fidelity sound quality, which essentially means it's CD quality rather than the compressed quality of an MP3, you'll have to pay £19.99 per month.
There's no free subscription plan, but you can experience a 30 day free trial that can be cancelled at any time.
See also: Spotify Free vs Premium
Why is Tidal so expensive?
Tidal prides itself on paying the highest percentage of royalties to the artists and songwriters of the tracks it streams, which is why there is no free subscription plan, and the prices of the plans are much higher than competing services.
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What songs can I listen to on Tidal?
There are more than 25 million tracks and 75,000 music videos available to stream on Tidal. It has distribution agreements with lots of independent labels, as well as the Big Three: Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group.
You can browse Tidal's music library here without needing to login, so you can find out whether the songs you want to listen to are available to stream.
Which devices can I use to listen to Tidal?
Tidal is available through a web player, a downloadable desktop application, an Android app or an iOS app, and is said to be coming to Windows Phone soon, too.
You can use Tidal to stream music on one device if you're using online mode, but offline you can use an additional three devices simultaneously on one subscription.
Do I have to have an internet connection to listen to Tidal?
No, there's an Offline Mode that'll let you save music on your device to listen to offline. There's no offline mode for PC or Mac yet, though, so if you're planning on using your laptop to listen to Tidal on a long plane journey you're out of luck.
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