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Jay Z challenges Spotify with upstart Tidal streaming music service

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April 1, 2015

Musicians gather at press conference to discuss Tidal

Musicians gather at a press conference to discuss Tidal

New music streaming service Tidal will focus on higher music quality to compete with Spotify for subscriptions.

Tidal is operated and funded by musicians and available for mobile. The goal of the service is to provide a higher quality sound for mobile listeners and draw them away from streaming applications that these musicians are against such as Pandora and Spotify.

“Musical artists are likely sick of watching everyone else take such a huge cut from their musical ingenuity and are backlashing with their own app,” said Shuli Lowy, marketing director at Ping Mobile, New York. “On the other side of the coin, most of the music streaming services have been reporting a net loss so it’s not like the music streaming services are raking it in.

“The problem is that Tidal is coming into the game very, very late, which makes it hard to steal away market share,” she said. “Their game-plan to steal away market share at this point is weak, the user experience is not as good as alternative options and the app is charging the same or more than competing apps that have been around for years.

“Those apps have endless resources of user data on which they’ve been optimizing search results, music taste and individual customizations.”

The collaboration formed as a response to artists’ anger over streaming services not providing enough compensation. Jay Z is leading the charge by buying the Swedish music company Aspiro and branding it in the United States as Tidal.

Changes in technology
The celebrity backlash to music downloading and streaming services has been happening since the Metallica and Dr. Dre lawsuit against discontinued file sharing service Napster. As the growth of technology, continues the music environment and how consumers access music will also change.

The music industry has had to adapt to these technology shifts and greater protect against infringement. Why these musicians have not collaborated on their own service is a question that has been discussed for quite sometime.

Tidal is the answer to this. But the question is, will this offering hold up against already established streaming services such as its main competitor Spotify.

Other musicians involved in Tidal are Kanye West, Deadmou5, Alicia Keys and Madonna.

The mobile app is offering a free one-month trial, hoping users will hear the difference of the audio, be hooked and unable to return to services lacking this quality. Tidal’s Web site features a video that showcases the difference between its audio content and others.

The service is available for all devices including Android and iOS products.

Screen shot of ITunes Tidal app
Tidal available for download in the iTunes app store

Similar to Spotify, users can browse songs, artists and playlists on Tidal. The app also curates recommendations and top tracks.

Competing subscriptions
The music-streaming platform has recently introduced tiered pricing, offering basic premium for $9.99 a month and $19.99 a month for hi-fi in the United States compared to $9.99 a month for Spotify.

Spotify and Facebook recently leveraged mobile payment firm Boku’s new Phone-on-File platform, which enables customers to store mobile phone numbers as their payment method of choice, offering a streamlined checkout process for one-time and repeat purchases (see more).

Also, Pandora Internet Radio refitted its music streaming and automated recommendation mobile app with new personalization tools that enhance and simplify the music listening experience for mobile consumers (see more).

“Tidal’s competitive advantage right now is that it offers exclusive content and that it has an option for better sound streaming,” Ms. Lowy said. “It also has the social influence of all the musical artists behind to push the app.

“The better sound streaming will make a difference for audio quality junkies,” she said. “But the average user on an average headset can’t tell the difference between lossless and standard quality.

“Exclusive content can help win the game but it would have to take a lot of committed teamwork from all musical artists. A few extra videos here and there wont do the trick. If all major artists stopped licensing their music to Pandora and Spotify and only gave Tidal rights to the music then we’d be in a different place.”

Final Take
Brielle Jaekel is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer, New York

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Brielle Jaekel is staff writer on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer, New York. Reach her at brielle@mobilemarketer.com.

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