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Tidal halves the price of CD-quality streaming

  • Changes are afoot with Tidal’s streaming plans. Tidal Hifi subscribers woke up yesterday to an in-app pop-up message informing them that their plan of choice (US$19.99/€19.99) had been redubbed Tidal Hifi Plus. That ‘Plus’ refers to the MQA, Dolby Atmos and Sony 360 Audio content being supplied in addition to what would now be available from a more affordable Tidal Hifi tier (US$9.99/€9.99): CD-quality streaming and Tidal Connect. (What we don’t yet know is how many of those CD-quality streams will be encapsulated by MQA).

    Also being offered to Stateside customers from today – with more territories to follow in due course –Β  is Tidal Free: an ‘interruption’-supported tier that caps streaming quality at AAC 160kbps and whose interruptions aren’t ads but messages that attempt to educate users about how the music industry operates.

    However, perhaps the biggest shakeup spilling from this news release is Tidal’s renewed focus on artist remuneration. ‘Up to’ 10% of your monthly Tidal Hifi Plus subscription fee will now go directly to the artists you stream the most. How Tidal defines ‘most’ is not made clear but the remaining 90% of Tidal Hifi Plus royalties will only be paid out to the artists being played by its subscribers. That means if you refuse to play the Red Hot Chilli Peppers on the Tidal Hifi Plus tier, they’ll get none of your money. This is often referred to as the ‘user-centric’ royalty distribution model.

    In contrast, the newer, cheaper Tidal Hifi tier will still see its revenues pooled and divided among all artists, whether you play them or not. Because someone somewhere is always listening to Blood Sugar Sex Magik.

    Further information: Tidal

    Written by John Darko

    John currently lives in Berlin where he creates videos and podcasts and pens written pieces for Darko.Audio. He has previously contributed to 6moons, TONEAudio, AudioStream and Stereophile.

    Darko.Audio is a member of EISA.

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