Tidal, Jay Z’s new artist-backed music streaming service, is the latest addition to a crowded field of companies offering music online. Spotify, Pandora, Rdio and others have featured similar music libraries — until now. Jay Z’s hit album “Reasonable Doubt” disappeared from Spotify earlier this week, while several top artists started to release content exclusively on Tidal. The competition puts increased pressure on music fans to subscribe to one or more streaming services.
Tidal is coming through on its promise to change the music industry. The first step was releasing exclusive content that could attract droves of listeners. The exclusive offerings were lackluster until this weekend when Tidal released a new Rihanna song and a video of an unreleased Beyoncé song. The Atlantic reports those kinds of songs might be just enough to make listeners rethink what they may be missing on Spotify.
Spotify attracts some 60 million listeners, but artists and record companies alike are upset over its freemium model, which pays miniscule royalties to the artist each time their song is played.
Taylor Swift, Bjork, Thom Yorke, and other artists pulled their music from the service in protest, and now services like Tidal and the upcoming Beats Music are not offering free versions. Spotify may very well be pushed in the same direction when it comes time to renegotiate its deals with record companies, all thanks to the competition.
Just because more people might start paying for subscriptions to music streaming services doesn’t mean that artists will necessarily benefit greatly, according to Bloomberg. When customers have to choose streaming services based on the kind of content they have, they might subscribe to one and then find other methods of getting the songs that might not be included in the subscription.
Will users simply pirate it or stream it on YouTube? Or will they actually buy an album? With increased streaming competition, the choice won’t be as simple anymore.