Today, Jay Z gave the signal to dozens of music’s top artists, asking them to reveal their true colors in a campaign to deliver hidden, coded messages across the airwaves.
No, it’s not an Illuminati takeover of pop music. It’s the U.S. launch of Jay Z’s new higher-end streaming service, Tidal.
Jay Z made the announcement with a promo video just weeks after noting his purchase of the service as part of acquiring the Swedish firm Aspiro, Tidal’s parent company. In this splashy rollout campaign, he enlisted peers like Kanye West, Jack White, Arcade Fire, Daft Punk, Madonna, Coldplay and Beyonce to show support by changing their varied Twitter avatars to the company’s cyan hue.
Describing itself as “the first music streaming service that combines the best high fidelity sound quality, high definition music videos and expertly curated editorial,” the service will reportedly include two tiers of pricing and access. A basic service at $9.99 monthly will offer current industry-standard streaming fidelity with high-definition music videos. A second tier at $19.99 monthly will offer lossless, CD-quality streaming, HD videos and access to the service’s original editorial products. If Jay Z already has this many high-profile guests onboard for support, the latter could become a compelling reason to join.
Another is that Tidal, frankly, isn’t Spotify. Taylor Swift, perhaps Spotify’s most famous holdout, has already listed her “1989" album for streaming. Many artists have openly complained about Spotify’s fractions-of-pennies royalty rates per stream, which makes it a negligible source of income for all but the biggest artists.
Representatives for Roc Nation and Tidal did not immediately return requests for comment on that particular issue, but Jay Z has a scheduled livestream news conference today at 5 p.m. EST.
“The Tides They Are A-Changing,” wrote Jay Z on Sunday night, before the announcement. Will his service be as a big of a sea change as Bob Dylan?
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