Jay Z looks to revolutionise music with streaming app
One of contemporary music's most formidable artists and entrepreneurs, Jay Z, is seeking to transform the way we listen to music with the launch of a new music streaming service, Tidal.
The rapper, who acquired the Norwegian company last month, has Spotify in his sights and he called on an array of heavy-hitters to talk up Tidal's artist-friendly credentials as it vies for a share of the fast-growing streaming market.
Spotify, the world's leading streaming service with 15 million paid subscribers, has frequently come under attack for the fees it pays artists and Jay Z insisted yesterday that musicians would receive a more equitable royalty rate.
His former collaborator, Alicia Keys, who was among a cast of A-list musicians who attended the Tidal relaunch in New York, described the service as "the first artist-owned global music and entertainment platform".
She said the company promised to "create a better service and a better experience for both fans and artists where we will deliver exclusive experiences that cannot be found anywhere else".
Tidal went live in Scandinavia in October 2014 and had a 'soft' launch in Ireland in January 2015. Its key selling point is the hi-res, 'lossless' fidelity of the 25 million tracks available, which is claimed to be of CD quality and up to four times superior to standard MP3 files.
Streaming services promising to deliver music as the artist intended have become big news in 2015. Last month, Deezer Elite launched a hi-res audio service partnership with wireless speaker company Sonos. Its monthly subscription of €9.99, if taken out for a year, is on a par with Spotify's fee for its advertising-free service.
Tidal currently charges €19.99, and the company point to its library of 75,000 HD music videos and curated editorial content as proof it stands out from the competition. It remains to be seen if customers will be willing to spend up to €240 per annum on hi-res streams when Spotify continue to offer a free-to-access advertising-supported service.
With Apple set to launch its US-long Beats Music to a global audience later this year and Google's Play likely to enjoy greater traction this summer, the battle to win listeners is set to intensify.