Jay-Z’s Tidal Wave

It was in true “Jigga” style that Jay-Z unveiled his newly-acquired online music streaming service Tidal on Monday, March 30. In a now-widely circulated video, Mr. Carter appears alongside 16 of music’s biggest and highest-earning artists as Alicia Keys announces the arrival of the “first ever artist-owned global music and entertainment platform.”

Rihanna, Beyoncé, Daft Punk, and others stood shoulder to shoulder on stage at Moynihan Station as Tidal Senior Executive Vania Schlogel touted it as the “most revolutionary music and entertainment platform for the planet.”

Jay-Z recently acquired Tidal’s parent company, Aspiro, for $56 million, Forbes reports. He offered each of the 16 artists, who include Jack White, Madonna, and Arcade Fire, a 3 percent stake in the company. Between them, Tidal’s 16 stakeholders boast an astonishing 298 top 40 Billboard hits, Forbes reports.

Tidal is an all-new music streaming platform that aims to “re-establish the value of music” and “create a place that brings fans and artists together,” Schlogel says.

Tidal was launched to a lukewarm response in October and currently counts 540,000 subscribers to Spotify’s 15 million and Deezer’s six million, Billboardreports.

One of the main challenges Tidal faces, Billboard notes, is that its competitors, such as Spotify, are essentially offering the same service. There is concern consumers won’t be convinced to subscribe to Tidal’s proposed $19.99 per month– a much higher margin than competitors who average out at $9.99 per month, Forbes notes.

But to weather this threat, Tidal has up its sleeve a trick or two, or three.

For instance, the $19.99 price tag gets users access to Tidal’s 25 million tracks to be enjoyed in CD-grade FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) – a quality of sound that can’t be achieved with Spotify’s 320kbps, Forbes says.

Along with top-quality sound, Tidal will offer access to its library of 25,000 HD music videos, giving it a strong hand over the competition.

If all else fails, Tidal has those 16 exclusivity agreements with its artist-stakeholders to fall back on.

Looking for the new Arcade Fire opus, Deadmau5 track or Usher groove? Look no further than Tidal. Beyoncé’s 40th top 40? Madonna’s 50th? Tidal’s. And Tidal’s.

Less than a week after its official launch, it is impossible to predict Tidal’s success by any accurate measure. Whether it will be “the future of music” as Senior Executive Vania Schlogel hopes will be revealed in time.

But by all appearances, it seems Jay-Z may indeed have just changed the game.

[Photo Credit: Billboard]