Jay Z is already starting to put the squeeze on Spotify as he ramps up his own streaming music service, Tidal.
The hip hop mogul just pulled his first album, “Reasonable Doubt,” from Spotify and Beyonce and Rihanna released exclusives to Tidal over the weekend.
Tidal’s star power is key to its pitch and Jay Z has said that the majority of the company will be owned by its artists.
But as Joshua Brustein points out, if Tidal is kicking off an arms race among streaming music services for exclusive releases, the end result could be negative for both fans and artists.
If music services were to begin competing on the basis of which music they carry, fans would either have to subscribe to more than one, jettison some artists, or get music that wasn’t available through their subscriptions in other ways. If they did this by buying a few digital full albums a year, it would mean more money for artists. If they listened to more songs on YouTube, it would probably mean less. If they went to pirate sites for their fix, it would mean no money at all. Tidal argues that artists would do well to choose it over the competition because it is offering higher per-stream royalties. But that could still spell less money if it means the songs are played less often.
Beyond the fact that you can stream “Reasonable Doubt” exclusively on Tidal, there are a few other key differences between Jay Z’s music service and its competitors. Mainly, Tidal offers a high fidelity option for serious music fans. What does that mean exactly? Here’s a nice side-by-side comparison of Tidal and its streaming music competitors put together by Mashable, including what exactly Tidal means by high-definition.