A host of the biggest acts in music have been announced as part-owners of Jay-Z’s Tidal streaming service during a star-studded launch event in New York on Monday evening.
Daft Punk, Rihanna, Kanye West, Beyonce, Madonna, Jack White, Nicki Minaj, Alicia Keys, Usher, two members of Arcade Fire and Deadmau5 all signed a declaration on stage at the event, while Chris Martin and Calvin Harris appeared via video link.
While appearances from some of Jay-Z’s music industry buddies were expected to promote the lossless-CD quality streaming service, it wasn't known that the artists had all taken part ownership of Tidal.
It is unclear how much of a stake the parties mentioned have taken in the service, which Jay-Z – real name Shawn Carter – snapped up from Swedish company Aspio earlier this year.
In a speech by artist Alicia Keys, Tidal was confirmed as the first artist-owned streaming service, heralding a new direction for the music industry from a business and creative standpoint.
“Tonight is still just the beginning of an exciting path ahead,” Keys said. “Tidal is a global and rapidly expanding streaming platform. We are here today to offer something different: a platform owned by artists… as dynamic as the artists behind it… Today marks the true beginning of a mission to change the status quo, to reestablish the value of music.
“Our goal is simple: we want to create a better service and a better experience for both fans and artists… Our mission goes beyond commerce, it goes beyond technology. Our intent is to preserve music’s importance in our lives.
“Music is so powerful, and that is what Tidal will be. A place for connection between artists and fans, where we will deliver exclusive experiences that cannot be found anywhere else… and we have joined in Tidal for the preservation of an industry, and to deliver music and experiences in a way that is best for the consumer… a sound business enterprise that promotes the health and sustainability of our art and our industry around the world.”
What all of that will actually entail remains to be seen as there were no new features announced during the event.
Tidal currently offers access to lossless music streamed or offline for $19.95 a month, while the firm also announced a standard subscription earlier on Monday, costing $9.95. Tidal also offers a host of editorial content alongside the music.
Presumably this artist-owned service will have more impact on the wallets of those creating the music rather than the experiences of those listening to it.
Industry leaders such as Spotify have long been criticised for the payments artists receive for allowing their music to be streamed, compared with the proceeds traditionally associated with music sales.
This new artist-owned direction explains why self-professed Spotify hater Taylor Swift has opted to allow her catalogue to be streamed via Tidal.
It has to be assumed now that Tidal's owners will all be debuting their new music on Tidal as the company seeks to reel in the likes of Spotify.