Jay Z is launching his music site today with help from Kanye West, Rihanna and Nicki Minaj. Interestingly enough, Beyonce is not a part of the launch. Beyonce’s absence from the launch makes one wonder if there is trouble brewing in the rap mogul and Queen Bey marriage, but that’s another story for another day.
Jay-Z bought Tidal earlier this year for $56 million. The Swedish company lets users stream music to their computers and smartphones — but unlike rival Spotify, there is no free, ad-supported option.
Tidal, which doesn’t offer free streaming, will have cool on its side as mounts a challenge to Spotify and the new service that Apple Inc.’s Beats Music is working on. The rock band Arcade Fire and rapper Nicki Minaj were among the co-owners who promoted Tidal on social media in the hours leading up to the event. Kanye West and Coldplay colored their social-media profiles a shade of blue and urged fans to do the same.
Many in the music industry have compared Tidal to United Artists, the film studio founded by Charlie Chaplin, D.W. Griffith, Douglas Fairbanks Jr. and Mary Pickford. Alicia Keys, Jack White, Usher and Daft Punk, were also among those introduced as owners of the company, which Keys called “the first ever artist-owned global music and entertainment platform.”
“Our goal is simple: we want to create a better service and a better experience for both fans and artists,” Keys said during a speech in which she quoted both Jimi Hendrix and Friedrich Nietzsche. “Our mission goes beyond commerce, it goes beyond technology. Our intent is to preserve music’s importance in our lives.”
The 18 Karat Reggae series which also features artists like Sizzla, Boom Viniyard, Beenie Man, Melodic Yoza, Capleton, Luciano, Frankie Paul, the late Sugar Minott and many more will also be available on Tidal.
Jay Z, born Shawn Carter, is pursuing exclusive deals with artists, many of whom have bemoaned the thin payments they receive from rival streaming services, according to senior record-label executives with knowledge of the discussions.
Tidal has two price points for each of its tiers. The one with higher sound quality costs $19.99 a month on desktop computers and $25.99 on mobile devices. The standard version is available for $9.99 a month on desktop and $12.99 for mobile. The standard version was already on sale in some European markets.