TIDAL has revealed a couple of changes, one of which should benefit the reason why any music streaming platform exists – the artists.
TIDAL has announced a new free tier as well as including lossless 16-bit 44.1kHz audio streams in its standard plan, which is priced at £9.99 and dubbed TIDAL HiFi.
TIDAL HiFi includes interruption-free access to audio at up to 1411 kbps (compared to the previous 320kbps) as well as offline capabilities and access to features such as Tidal Connect. TIDAL’s Family Tier also benefits from the same update.
Incidentally, TIDAL HiFi Plus, at £19.99 a month, gives you everything from TIDAL HiFi and adds immersive sound formats (Dolby Atmos Music and Sony 360 Audio recordings) and Master Quality Authenticated (MQA) tracks (at up to 9216 kbps), plus early access to any future offerings.
Then we come to TIDAL Free. This imaginatively-titled tier has launched in the USA offering gratis streams with access to a library of 80 million tracks at 160kbps with “limited interruptions”. Said interruptions will not be adverts, according to TIDAL, but will be aimed at educating consumers on the music industry. We are told that the company plans to extend the free tier to other markets in the future.
However, the big news for the creators of the music being hosted is that TIDAL, as promised when Square’s Jack Dorsey took over, has started its ‘direct-to-artist‘ payments which will distribute up to 10% of your HiFi Plus subscription to the artists you listen to the most each month, in addition to standard streaming royalties. Furthermore, from next year ‘fan-centric royalties’ will be paid based on the actual streaming activity of individual HiFi Plus subscribers instead of the industry-accepted method of aggregating streams, “empowering fans to play a larger role in the success of their favourite artists”.
It’s worth noting that these figures are based purely on TIDAL HiFi Plus subscriber plays, and artists must choose to opt-in to access direct artist payouts, either through TIDAL’s invite-only direct registration option or through distribution partners. Access to the program will open in the coming months, with further information available at tidal.com/ForArtists. Still, anything that gives the artists and musicians a fairer deal for their time, hard work, and creativity is a step in the right direction.
Is streaming endangering the future of music, or are we witnessing a shift in how artists fund their creativity?