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Jay Z leans on famous friends for launch of Spotify-rival Tidal


By Jennifer Faull, Deputy Editor

March 30, 2015 | 4 min read

Jay Z has enlisted the help of a number of bands and artists for a social campaign to launch new streaming service Tidal.

Kanye West, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna and Madonna have all turned their Twitter profile pictures blue and used the hashtag #TIDALforALL to support the service.

The rapper bought Tidal for $56m (£38m) through his company, Project Panther, two weeks ago.

The move came as the music industry continues to navigate away from a sales model towards an access model.

However, Neil Dawson, chief strategy officer at SapientNitro, previously told The Drum that the industry is struggling to feel its way through this disruption and the monetisation of access.

His comments were prompted by Taylor Swift’s decision to pull her entire back catalogue from Spotify claiming it was a “grand experiment” in the rapidly changing environment. She stated she was unwilling contribute to something which doesn’t “fairly compensate the writers, producers, artists and creators of this music".

Launched in 2008, Spotify offers free streaming, which is ad-supported, with the aim of converting non-subscribers to its premium £9.99 a month subscription service. It has attracted over 60 million users, 15 million of which are paying subscribers. As well as mobile and PC, from today Spotify will also be available on PlayStation 3 and 4 consoles after the firm signed an exclusive deal with Sony.

For a £19.99 monthly subscription fee – significantly more than rivals – Tidal claims it will offer users more content such as videos and artist interviews as well bolstering the benefits for artists.

Although Jay Z hasn’t publicly revealed how it will work with musicians, and the role advertising will play, he has positioned it as “the next step in the evolution of streaming”.

A further description added: "Tidal is a global entertainment streaming service and artist hub that delivers content the way the artists intend for fans to experience it: High-fidelity streaming music along with exclusive content, editorial, experiences and merchandise.”

His commitment to artists has wooed Swift, with the content she removed from Spotify appearing on Tidal last week.

A press conference today, 30 March, is expected to reveal more on Tidal’s model.

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