Rapper and businessman Jay Z held a press conference on Monday in New York for the relaunch of the music streaming site Tidal, which was acquired by his company, S. Carter Enterprises, earlier this year for $56 million.
Tidal may quickly become a main rival of the popular music streaming site Spotify. With both services making headlines today, here is everything you need to know about Tidal vs. Spotify.
In The News This Week
On Monday, Jay Z announced his big plans for the subscription streaming service Tidal. In a press conference, Jay Z stood with Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, Kayne West, Alicia Keys, Alicia Keys, Daft Punk, Beyonce, Jack White, Acrcade Fire and Jason Aldean to announce that artists will be able to take control of where their music is streamed by actually having ownership in the platform.
"This is a platform that's owned by artists," Jay Z said. "We are treating these people that really care about the music with the utmost respect."
The platform may also turn into a hub of entertainment with the possibility to sell concert ticks and merchandise.
Jay Z emphasized that music streaming has been unfair for artists in terms of compensation. "Everywhere else, everyone gets compensated for their work," he said. "Music is everywhere —you consume it every day, everywhere you go. The content creator should be compensated. It's only fair."
Spotify made headlines today thanks to Sony's launch of the music streaming service on its PS3 and PS4 game consoles in 41 countries. PS4 users will now be able to play games while listening to music at the same time directly from their consoles. By using a smartphones or tablets as a remote to control, gamers can change songs without pausing their game or switching apps.
Tidal, the new rival to Spotify, launched in both the U.S. and the UK last year, charging music lovers either $9.99 for standard quality audio, or $19.99 a month to stream high-fidelity16-bit FLAC digital audio files.
According to its Twitter account, Tidal says it will offer a new Premium subscription option for $9.99 that will include the same access to music and video, whereas the more expensive subsciption includes CD-quality streaming.
— TIDAL (@TIDALHiFi) March 30, 2015
Tidal does not offer a free subscription option for its users, making its standard subscription as much as Spotify Premium. That means those who opt for the $19.99 per month Tidal subscription will be paying twice as much as Spotify users. However, users can get a free seven-day trial.
Spotify offers its users three service options: Spotify Free, Spotify Unlimited, Spotify Premium. The free subscription allows users access to millions of tracks for instant streaming on your smartphone, tablet, or computer, make new playlists, and browse playlists based on moods and genres. Spotify Unlimited will cost a user $4.99 a month, but along with access to instant streaming, users can also use Spotify Radio mode, take music abroad, with no time limits. There are also no ads. For $9.99, Spotify Premium gives all the above plus offline mode on the user's computer and mobile, exclusive content, enhanced sound quality and the ability to play through multi-room music systems.You can also play any song, anytime without ads. Users can try Premium for free for 30 days.
Tidal users can stream music on iOS and Android mobile phones, tablets, or desktops in 31 countries including: US, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Finland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Italy, South Africa, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Singapore, Denmark, Spain, Portugal, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, France, Austria, Switzerland, Hungary, Turkey, Sweden, Romania, Slovenia, Greece, Cyprus and Malta. Before the end of the second quarter 2015, Tidal is expected to launch in Poland, Australia, Hong Kong, Quatar, United Arab Emirates and Germany. Spotify users can access the platform on iOS and Android mobile phones, tablets, or desktops—and now TV via Playstation consoles—in 58 markets with including: US, UK, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Philippines, Singapore, Switzerland and Uruguay to name a few.
Tidal offers high-quality lossless audio files from a library of over 25 million songs, 75,000 high-definition music videos, as well as editorials, features and interviews written by experts. As mentioned above, the service is also completely advertisement free. Because it's providing high-quality sound, anything played on Tidal will sound better than on Spotify.
Spotify also doesn't provide "High Definition music videos and expertly Curated Editorial" features that sets this service apart from other music streaming platforms. Spotify, with its library of over 30 million songs and over 1.5 billion playlists, also has an impressive app library if you like add-ons like lyric transcription apps, and has one of the best social integrations that lets users see what other people are listening to on Facebook.
How Many Subscribers?
So far, Tidal only has about 17,000 paid subscribers. Spotify, on the other hand, just reached 15 million subscribers and 60 million active users as of January 2015.
Support From The Music Industry
While audiophiles may be debating whether to sign up for Tidal vs. Spotify, musicians have already chosen to be #teamJ. Artists like wife Beyonce, Kayne West, Rihanna and Madonna changed their Twitter avatar blue in support of Jay-Z, promoting the service using the hashtag #TIDALforALL.
Together, we can turn the tide and make music history. Start by turning your profile picture blue. #TIDALforALL — KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) March 30, 2015
However, some artists like 50 cent, Lily Allen and Mumford & Sons have criticized the platform for being run by elite artists and not for indie or less known musicians.
Taylor Swift recently removed her music from Spotify because she did not believe it was fair that artists were not paid royalties, and has since allowed Tidal permission to stream her music.
While some artists are backing Jay Z, it's all up to the audiophile to decide how much they are willing to pay for high or standard quality sounding music.
Photo: Adam Glanzman | Flickr