Long gone are the days of music fans buying LP records and laying back to soak in the sounds.
Today, music has gone fully digital. Instead of producing vinyl, every artist has to turn their sights to music streaming platforms.
And while Spotify has revolutionised the way people hear your music, TIDAL, a music streaming platform owned by Jay-Z, has risen to prominence. And according to their latest reports, they show no signs of stopping.
In this article, we’re going to show you how TIDAL works for artists.
It’s time to jam!
What Is TIDAL for Artists?
TIDAL is a global music platform that brings artists and fans together through distinctive music and content experiences spanning across 54 countries.
But why should you care about TIDAL as an artist?
To put it simply: TIDAL’s global reach and advanced features allow you to reach millions of potential fans with your music.
TIDAL currently has a catalog size of around 80 million songs, and over 225,000 high-quality videos.
Additionally, they pull in subscribers by offering exclusive content and real-life experiences, such as concerts. All of this makes it possible for them to create a more immersive music streaming experience, with the focus being placed on your brand as an artist.
Even if you don’t have a record label, you can publish your music on TIDAL through LabelGrid, Indigoboom, Record Union, DistroKid, or Tunecore.
Their financial model benefits artists, as well. TIDAL pays the highest ratio of royalties vs revenues. You’ll be getting equal rates to label-signed artists.
Finally, TIDAL pays attention to content curation. They frequently promote up-and-coming artists with a whole lot of potential. You might’ve heard of that program under the name TIDAL Rising.
What Is TIDAL Rising?
This is where things get interesting!
TIDAL Rising is a program that allows artists that might have slipped through the cracks of other platforms to gain more prominence.
Since the artists are selected by human curators, it’s really one of the best merit-based artist promotion systems available to up-and-coming artists.
If you’re spotted by TIDAL Rising curators, you’ll get access to excellent star-making support:
- Prominent placement – If you’re a TIDAL Rising artist, your every album, single release, video, playlist, or editorial content piece will be featured on the front page. You’ll also get a slot in the “What’s New” section.
- Press photos – TIDAL will pay for professional photoshoots for you.
- PR support – You’ll get a PR team that will create strategies for new music releases.
- Artist imaging – Professional stylists will take care of your wardrobe, hair, makeup, as well as media training.
- Tour support – TIDAL’s Tour Support is… well, free tour support. You don’t have to pay them back for arranging everything from van rentals to accommodation. This is probably one of the categories where it’s the clearest that TIDAL wants to help you succeed with their Rising program.
- Music video production
- Custom editorial and video content production
- Live show bookings and premium show placements
In short, TIDAL Rising is like a starter pack for up-and-coming artists.
If you’re included in the program, it’s equivalent to signing on with a major label that will help you succeed.
This is what makes TIDAL significantly different from other platforms.
Even Maggie Rogers, who famously blew up after Pharrell Williams heard her song Alaska, was part of the TIDAL Rising program.
But just because your music is on TIDAL, or they support you through TIDAL Rising, doesn’t mean you can’t get your voice heard across other platforms.
Are There Any TIDAL Exclusive Artists?
No, there aren’t any TIDAL exclusive artists, but artists do share exclusive content through TIDAL.
TIDAL’s artist-owners (a list that includes Alicia Keys, Beyonce, Calvin Harris, Coldplay’s Chris Martin, Daft Punk, deadmau5, Jason Aldean, Kanye West, Lil Wayne, and Madonna, among others) have shared a variety of exclusive content:
- Coldplay shared a TIDAL-exclusive playlist, which included songs like The Verve’s Bitter Sweet Symphony
- Beyonce released Lemonade exclusively on Tidal
- Rihanna released her single Bitch Better Have My Money exclusively on Tidal
- The White Stripes’ debut TV appearance was exclusively available on Tidal
This exclusivity model is really how TIDAL attracts a significant number of followers. By allowing fans to interact with unique content from their favourite artists, they’re creating an engaging platform while helping artists reaffirm their brands.
TIDAL vs Spotify
Now, we can’t avoid this question: which is better for artists, Tidal or Spotify?
Let’s break it down quick:
Spotify has a free plan (with ads), while TIDAL’s plans start at $9.99/£9.99. The free plan is certainly appealing to a vast number of users. However, many Spotify users end up upgrading to paid plans for the ability to listen without ads.
Additionally, there are 4.2 million users on TIDAL, and Spotify has over 217 million subscribers. Still, TIDAL has a bigger catalogue. TIDAL offers >80 million songs in their catalogue, while Spotify offers >70 million.
Finally, TIDAL’s sound quality (with the $19.99 plan) is superior to Spotify’s sound quality. It also has a reputation for being a platform used by taste-makers. This makes it a great option for artists that want to make it big (even if their sound isn’t mainstream).
Finally, there’s no way around the fact that TIDAL simply gives artists more rights to their music. From the TIDAL Rising program, which is intended for up-and-coming artists, to their financial model, it’s a better option for making it big.
In that respect, Spotify likes to dip its fingers in many pies; hosting podcasts as well as music. This does open up the platform to more users, but at a high cost that might affect artists who want to create a brand through the platform.
The ultimate answer depends on you and your music. You don’t have to pit TIDAL against Spotify.
You can reap the benefits of both. And why not?
You and your music deserve the world.
Like this article? Check out this one on getting your music on Spotify Playlists.