TIDAL reformed its payment model and subscription packages on Wednesday (November 17) in a rebrand for the streaming service, which was purchased by Square earlier in 2021 for a reported $302 million.
Like its competitor Spotify, TIDAL will now offer a free tier allowing users to create memberships and try out the TIDAL experience and listen to its 80 million song catalog at no cost with limited ad interruptions.
The other two tiers include TIDAL HiFi ($9.99) and TIDAL HiFi Plus ($19.99), which offer better sound quality and ad-free listening. HiFi Plus introduces a new artist payment model that could send shockwaves through the music industry. The direct-to-artist payments will allow fan-centered royalties to be distributed based on the actual streaming activity of each HiFi Plus subscriber. Additionally, 10 percent of HiFi Plus subscription fees will go to the user’s most listened to artist for each month. Users will have to opt-in for this feature to make sure their favorite artists are getting paid.
In part, the latest batch of decisions keep JAY-Z’s promise to artists that TIDAL will be a beneficial tool in supporting their careers. “I said from the beginning that TIDAL was about more than just streaming music, and six years later, it has remained a platform that supports artists at every point in their careers,” Hov wrote in March. “Artists deserve better tools to assist them in their creative journey.”
TIDAL is looking to reimagine the industry’s status quo when it comes to artists being properly compensated for their work in the streaming world as the music industry continues to explore the digital era. “For the new artist features we focused on two big ideas,” TIDAL head Jesse Dorogusker told Billboard. “The first is transparency, making sure there’s a direct connection between fans listening and their favorite artists. That means showing the data, and that means taking action on it. The second big idea is to create new revenue opportunities for artists. And these features are just the first steps in this direction.”