Musicians Launch 'Tidal' Streaming Music Service to Reestablish Value of Music

A coterie of top shelf musicians officially launched Tidal on Monday. Tidal is a music streaming service going head to head with Spotify and a host of other services, but Tidal's stated goal is to restore the value of music in the eyes of consumers.

Tidal's self-description is, "The first music streaming service that combines the best High Fidelity sound quality, High Definition music videos and expertly Curated Editorial."

This is the first promotional video:

Owners of the service include Madonna, Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Daft Punk, Jack White, Alicia Keys, Usher, Kanye West, Chris Martin, Rihana, Win Butler, Régine Chassagne, Dead Mouse, Nicki Minaj. The service launched in October of 2014 in the U.S., but on Monday, the company held a media event (watch it in full on Tidal's home page) that can be described as awkward, disjointed, and a tad purposeless.

And that's coming from someone who believes in the concept that music has value. For a less-charitable take, read Sam Biddle's angry rant on the event at Gawker. I agree with Mr. Biddle's take on Alicia Keys's weird speech. It was not good. And the signing ceremony? lolwut?

In any event, Tidal is pitching itself as the artists' service that puts control of music back in their hands. They're also charging more, at US$20 a month compared to $10 per month for Spotify. In return, the company says it is offering a high fidelity experience, the ability to take your music offline, and the above-mentioned "expertly curated editorials."

Tidal also appears to be banking the ability to leverage its artist-owned angle as something consumers will be willing to pay for. It's a fact that even enormous stars such as Taylor Swift make little when their music is listened to on services like Spotify, but it's not clear if consumers care, especially younger listeners who expect everything to be free.

It could also be a hard sell parading the crème de la crème of musicians—some of the few who have truly made fortunes in the music business—as pitch persons for artists getting more money. As little as Ms. Swift made from Spotify before she pulled her tunes off the service, it was still more than most of the people reading this will make in a decade or more of work.

And again, this is coming from someone who believes in the value of music, doesn't pirate music, and understands you can't get something for nothing

The company is going to be going up against Apple's eventual streaming service, and it's already going up against more streaming services than you can shake a stick at. If it is able to deliver a superior experience you can't get elsewhere, it might make a splash. If not, even the star power of its owners won't keep it afloat.

You can watch the full media event on Tidal's home page.