Weekly updates:

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Weekly updates

As more and more artists begin to contest the current model of online music streaming, the threat of monopolies forcing content creators to take lower royalty percentages is becoming less of a threat thanks to a growing diversity of artist-focused subscription services. Jay-Z’s very recently acquired streaming project Tidal is probably one of the most ambitious to date. And you’d hope so because he reportedly paid $56m for the service’s acquisition.
While other services already exist that offer lossless streaming and downloads in multiple high-end formats, a lot of these still revolve around quantitive subscriptions with record labels signed to the service and requiring lump service payments from subscribers rather than royalties going towards individual artists. A good example of this is Drip which, while being an excellent content source for DJs, has limited access streaming, inflexible payment services and is potentially very expensive for casual listeners.

Hov’s Tidal offers an overall streaming subscription that’s more in the vein of Netflix’s payment plan – with a high-def subscription going for half the originally announced monthly rate ($10 as opposed to $20) and a 30 day trial. Don’t get too excited about that latter point though, you’re still going to have to hand over your credit card details before being able to select the option to try before buying.

The announcement about the service was made via a livestream now available on YouTube (peep it in the gallery above – announcement starts about 30 minutes in) which featured a litany of high-profile musicians including Beyoncé (duh), Kanye (double duh), Alicia Keys, Daft Punk, J. Cole, Rihanna, Madonna, Usher, Nicki Minaj, Daft Punk, Jack White, Calvin Harris, Deadmau5 (it’s unclear if he was actually invited), Jason Aldean and Arcade Fire (AKA DJ Windows 98 and some people with gongs). With that many high-profile acts on the stage at once, it’s clear Jay is really trying to hit the ground running with this project.

Some websites have already taken to calling Tidal a Spotify killer which truthfully seems really unlikely considering:
A) Spotify is more-or-less free
B) A lot of people care more about ease of access more than audio quality
C) Tidal has a good range, but it’s presently incomparable to the Spotify library
D) The service is still having widespread issues with loading tracks quickly
Regardless, it’ll be interesting to see how a streaming service owned by an artist will work in benefitting both their corral of contributors and listeners alike, especially considering Beats Music streaming service will now presumably be contending with Tidal in the near future for exclusive releases and premieres. Presently, Beats features exclusive music including tracks by Beyoncé, so things could definitely get heated.
One thing to take away from all of this is that the online music ecosystem is about to get much more interesting. Hopefully the rise of fair competition will benefit consumers and creators alike. Check out Tidal for yourself here.

More streaming

Stream Toro y Moi’s new album, ‘What For?’
This Grammy-nominated musician shared his royalties statement from online streaming and it’s not pretty
Stream Your Old Droog’s excellent second EP ‘Kinison’