Music giants get behind Jay Z music streaming service

2015-03-31 13:10

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Some of the world’s biggest names in music including Beyoncé, Cold Play’s Chris Martin and Rihanna are backing Jay Z’s new global streaming music service Tidal.

The service, which launched yesterday, is billing itself as the first of its kind owned by artists.

Co-owners Kanye West, Daft Punk, Alicia Keys, Madonna and other musicians were in New York yesterday to sign a declaration of a “whole new era.”

Still, Tidal is entering a crowded space, with stiff competition from Spotify, Pandora Media and Clear Channel’s I Heart Radio. But Jay Z’s deep music ties could help distinguish Tidal from its rivals.

Musicians complain they are not being properly compensated for digital music rights. Additionally, music downloads have been shrinking as streaming services boom in popularity.

The Beatles’ Ringo Starr addressed the issue with Reuters TV yesterday: “All I ever hear is that your record has been streamed 17 million times and they give you a cheque for 12 bucks. I don’t understand that.”

Last year, Taylor Swift pulled her entire catalog from Spotify in a shocking move. Swift’s catalog is available on Tidal but her latest 1989 is not.

Tidal has deals for rights with all the major record labels, a representative with the company said.

While the glitzy line-up did not directly address compensation, Alicia Keys said: “We believe it’s in everyone’s interest ... to preserve music.”

Tidal is offering a mix of stock and cash to its owners for promotional support, which does not include rights to the music, the Financial Times reported. One partner was offered $3 million (R36m) for a 3% stake, the report said.

Tidal is an offspring of Jay Z’s company Project Panther Bidco, which acquired more than 90% of the Swedish streaming music company Aspiro AB for $54 million earlier this month. For $19.99 a month, subscribers have access to millions of songs and videos. A $9.99 option offers regular sound quality. Tidal is available in 35 countries, including South Africa. and subscribers can listen offline to as many songs as their device will hold. Music lovers took to social media to voice their opinions.

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