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Tidal announces major updates to product experience

Global music and entertainment streaming service Tidal has announced major updates to the product experience for music fans and artists alike. New features include direct-to-artist payments, fan-centred royalties, and new and enhanced subscription tiers, which will allow more music fans and artists to access the power of Tidal, the company said in a statement.

The enhancements promise deliver on the company’s mission to create a “sustainable, artist-first and fan-centric” business model for the music industry and include a new free tier and enhanced paid subscription tiers, direct-to-artist payments, fan-centred royalties, and more. With support from the vast majority of its record label and distributor partners, the company says it is going beyond current industry standards to make royalty payments more transparent for artists and rights holders.

Head of Tidal, Jesse Dorogusker, commented: “We’re building a platform that values art, artists, and culture, and for the first time opening the platform experience up to a wider group of fans with the free tier. We are also supporting artists with fairer earning terms and quicker payments, and fans are getting a better way to support their favourite artists. These offerings are the first step of many, and we’re excited to collaborate with artists to evolve our tools to help them continue to grow and create on their own terms.”

New Options for Music Fans

The premium streaming service now offers three membership options for fans to choose from, Tidal Free (US-only), Tidal Hi-Fi, and Tidal Hi-Fi Plus.

Both Hi-Fi tiers are available in all of the brand’s 61 international markets with plans to extend the free tier to other markets in the future, the company said. All tiers have access to the same catalogue of over 80 million songs, videos and expertly curated playlists, with each tier having its own set of perks outlined below.

Tidal Free (US-only): For the first time, music fans can now try the service at no cost, with access to its entire music catalog and playlists, though with some interruptions from ads.

Tidal Hi-Fi: This tier offers interruption-free access to Hi-Fi sound quality. With this tier, members have offline capabilities, access to features like Tidal Connect and My Activity, which provides individualised daily listening insights.

Tidal HiFi Plus: This features everything the Hi-Fi tier offers, as well as the introduction of fan-centred royalties and direct-to-artist payments. Hi-Fi Plus will also continue to provide access to the best-in-class immersive sound formats (Dolby Atmos Music & Sony 360 Audio Recordings) and Master Quality Authenticated (MQA), alongside early access to exclusive offerings and future features.


New ways for artists to get paid based on fan streaming

Tidal will launch monthly direct-to-artist payments, which will give artists access to an additional payment stream, so they can benefit directly from their biggest fans on Tidal.

Each month, a percentage of Hi-Fi Plus subscribers’ membership fees will be directed towards their top streamed artist, which they will see in their activity feed. This direct-to-artist payment is in addition to their streaming royalties, the company said.


Fan-centred royalties

From 2022, Tidal will be taking a different approach on royalties, it says. In this new model, royalties attributed to Hi-Fi Plus subscribers will not be aggregated. Rather, royalties will be paid based on the actual streaming activity of individual HiFi Plus subscribers as opposed to the industry accepted method of aggregating streams. It is believed that this approach will empower fans to play a larger role in the success of their favourite artists.

All artists must opt-in to access direct artist payouts, either through Tidal’s invite-only direct registration option or through one of its distribution partners, the company said. The streaming service will continue to open access to the program in the coming months, with information being made available for Artists with music available here.

Singer and songwriter Sam Austins added: “Tidal has been with me since the beginning, providing emerging artists, like myself, with resources to pursue my passion. It’s exciting to see them continue to evolve their streaming platform to better support artists and their fans with new features like direct-to-artist payments. Tidal was founded by artists, so the importance of economic empowerment is ingrained in what they do, no matter what stage of your career you’re in.”

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