Tidal launches new free tier, directtoartist payments, more

Tidal is reinventing itself today as it looks to ramp up its efforts to take on the likes of Apple Music and Spotify. The company announced today that it is launching its first-ever free music tier, two new HiFi tiers, and more. The company is also announcing new ways to pay artists.

In a press release, Tidal announced a new free tier that is exclusively available in the United States for now. This ad-supported tier will give customers access to the entire Tidal music catalog and playlists with “limited interruptions” from Tidal.

There are also two HiFi plans from which users can choose, Tidal HiFi and Tidal HiFi Plus. Here are the details:

  • TIDAL HiFi: At $9.99/month, this tier offers interruption-free access to HiFi sound quality. With TIDAL HiFi, members have offline capabilities, access to features like TIDAL Connect and My Activity, which provides individualized daily listening insights.
  • TIDAL HiFi Plus: For $19.99/month, HiFi Plus features everything the HiFi tier offers, in addition to the introduction of fan-centered royalties and direct-to-artist payments. HiFi 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.

One of the keys of Tidal’s revamp today is a payment system that ensures artists are paid fairly for their music. First off, Tidal is launching monthly direct-to-artist payments as part of the Tidal HiFi Plus tier.

The company explains that each month, a percentage of HiFi Plus subscribers’ membership fees will be directed toward their top streamed artist, which they will see in their activity feed. This direct-to-artist payment is in addition to their streaming royalties.

Tidal is also revamping its royalties program:

Starting in 2022, TIDAL is taking a different approach on royalties. In this new model, royalties attributed to HiFi 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, empowering fans to play a larger role in the success of their favorite artists.

Whether or not these new announcements by Tidal are enough to help the company gain traction in an increasingly crowded and mature music industry remains to be seen. What do you think? Let us know down in the comments!

You can learn more and sign up for Tidal on the company’s website right here.

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