×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Jay Z Launches Tidal Streaming-Music Service at Star-Studded Event

Music impresario Jay Z has launched Tidal — positioned as an ad-free, high-quality streaming-music subscription service priced starting at $10 per month.

The rapper and producer was joined by several big-name artists including Alicia Keys, Beyonce (who is married to Jay Z), Chris Martin of Coldplay, Usher, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, Kanye West and Madonna.

Jay Z, the stage name of Shawn Carter, in January acquired Sweden-based Aspiro for $56 million. The artists announced onstage at the New York event Monday were introduced as co-owners of the company, representing the first artist-owned digital-music service — a salvo lobbed against companies like Spotify and Pandora, which musicians complain don’t compensate them fairly. In a notable rift, Taylor Swift pulled all her songs off Spotify last year in a dispute over payment terms.

“Our goal is simple: We want to create a better service and a better experience for both fans and artitsts,” Alicia Keys said at the event. “We believe that it is in everyone’s interests — fans, artists and the industry as a whole — to preserve the value of music, and to ensure a healthy and robust industry for years to come.”

Of course, just because Tidal is backed by a bunch of music celebrities is hardly a guarantee it will gain traction in the highly competitive space. The company says artists will provide exclusive content on the service; but Tidal will not offer a free version of the service, which will inevitably hamper its ability to attract users.

Tidal’s mobile launch partner is Sprint. Other artists participating in the service include Arcade Fire, Calvin Harris, Daft Punk, Jack White (formerly of the White Stripes) and Deadmau5. Tidal was launched with the hashtag “#TIDALforALL” — although, obviously, it’s only for those able or willing to pay at least $120 annually for audio and video content.

At the New York event, the assembled artists took turns ceremoniously signing Tidal’s “manifesto.” That reads, in part, “Tidal is an artist majority-owned company with a mission to reestablish the value of music and protect the sustainability of the music industry rooted in creativity and expression. … Our movement is being led by a few who are inviting all to band together for a common cause, a movement to change the status quo.”

The Tidal service will compete with other subscription-music services including Spotify and Apple’s forthcoming music-streaming service, based on its acquisition of Beats Music, which is expected to launch this summer.

Tidal’s standard-audio version (Tidal Premium) will be $9.99 per month and the high-def audio version (Tidal HiFi) will be $19.99 per month. Both tiers are free to try out for 30 days, according to the company.

Tidal says it provides a library of more than 25 million tracks, 75,000 music videos and curated editorial articles. The service is available across iOS and Android devices, as well as in Web browsers and desktop players, available in the U.S. and 30 other countries at launch. Tidal’s top-tier offering provides streaming quality at more than four times the bit rate of competitive services, according to the startup.

More Digital

  • Stephen Fry, David Oyewelo and Nicole

    Stephen Fry, David Oyewelo and Nicole Scherzinger Among Celebs Campaigning for 'Movember' in Charity Video

    Hollywood stars are partnering with men’s health charity, Movember, to support the moustache and raise awareness about the org’s fundraising campaign. Comedians Stephen Fry, Stephen Merchant, actor David Oyewelo and survival expert Bear Grylls join former Pussycat Dolls star Nicole Scherzinger in a new public service announcement explaining why the ‘stache is so important. Watch [...]

  • YouTube Originals A Heist With Markiplier

    YouTube's First Interactive Special Stars Markiplier and Has 31 Possible Endings

    YouTube is diving into interactive entertainment with a new special featuring popular gaming creator Markiplier as a black-clad super-criminal who tries to steal a priceless artifact from the world’s most secure museum. Along the lines of Netflix’s “Black Mirror: Bandersnatch,” viewers will control the outcome of the interactive movie, “A Heist With Markiplier.” The first-person [...]

  • Euphoria HBO

    'It's an Explosion': Inside the Rising Costs of Making a Scripted TV Series

    When Apple TV plus launches on Nov. 1, it will do so with what’s arguably the most expensive new-series lineup in TV history. Among the streamer’s initial offerings are the drama “The Morning Show,” bearing a price tag believed to be more than $15 million an episode, and the dystopian sci-fi series “See,” which is [...]

  • Erika Nardini - Barstool Sports

    Listen: Barstool Sports CEO Learns From Digital Media's Past Mistakes

    Long before she became CEO of Barstool Sports, Erika Nardini had a front-row seat to the early days of the internet advertising world and she has no intention of repeating its errors. Over a career that saw stops at AOL, Microsoft, Yahoo and Demand Media, she watched as the digital powerhouses of yesteryear cluttered the [...]

  • Dany Garcia

    Dany Garcia Invests in Privacy-Focused Social Media Service MeWe

    Dany Garcia, CEO of Seven Bucks Productions and founder, CEO and chairwoman of the Garcia Companies and TGC Management, has taken a minority investment in MeWe, a startup that positions itself as a social network rival to Facebook — but one that gives users full control over their own data and privacy. Garcia co-founded Seven [...]

  • Meg Whitman and Jeffrey Katzenberg Quibi

    Quibi Says It Has Sold Out $150 Million First-Year Ad Inventory

    Nearly six months before Quibi is slated to hit the market, a cluster of large advertisers has committed millions in ad spending to the ambitious — and untested — premium mobile-video brainchild of Jeffrey Katzenberg. Quibi announced that it has sold out its $150 million advertising inventory for the first year. The startup’s category-exclusive ad partners [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content