Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter’s tweets in defense of his recently acquired music-streaming program, Tidal, are no secret. There is widespread criticism of the program’s success since it fell from Apple’s top 750 in the App Store. However, there is more to Tidal than it being another method of listening to one’s favorite song.


This isn’t the first service to be poorly received regarding its services. What fails to be addressed, though, are other elements that contribute to the overall establishment. Tidal also features a blog and an informational video, both accessible from the home page. The video describes lossless, which by definition means the compression of data from its original version. When streaming, the original data of a track can be compressed, compromising its sound quality. Since one of Tidal’s main offers is high definition sound, this video is highly relevant and persuasive enough to pay the $19.99 subscription fee for HD sound, as opposed to paying $9.99 for standard quality.


Differences aside, Tidal isn’t the first of its kind. Other than heavy hitters Pandora, Spotify, and Rdio, there are several other sites that are similar but without the fame. TheSixtyOne and both pay their artists dependent on number of plays per track and/or number of followers. TheSixtyOne, named after Route 61, started in 2008 and offers artists $7 per month. While the cut may seem small, it is larger than that of a record deal., founded in 2010, also pays artists and also promotes discovery by playing tracks from both known and unknown musicians.


Tidal also hopes to flourish enough, so smaller bands and underground groups can gain more publicity in a more organic fashion. The same goal was set by creators of UpBeat, Noon Specific, and The Hype Machine. All three apps, though having their unique qualities, thrive on music that isn’t necessarily being played on the radio every hour. Noon Specific is designed to send weekly curated playlists to its subscribers every Monday at 12:00 p.m. PST sharp — not a minute later or a minute less. It has been around since 2012 yet is not as acclaimed as one would expect.

Contrary to current popular belief, the success of Tidal is not dependent on its financial well-being. In Carter’s interview with Billboard, he stated:

“If in 12 months…everyone is understanding that streaming isn’t a bad thing, I’m happy. Let’s embrace what’s coming up next.”


Have all these programs slipped through the cracks because they aren’t backed by an already popular celebrity? Most of them are offered for iOS and Android mobile phones as well as in web player format, so each one is keeping up with its competitors in that regard. Perhaps knowing that a service is celebrity-endorsed is more enticing than what else the service has to offer.


Smaller scale endeavors may not be making the headlines, but the integrity behind their mission is still intact. In the last decade, fans have evolved from cassette tapes, to compact discs, to mp3 players, and now listening over mobile and portable devices. Each music-streaming app is like another version of the iPod; some might be more popular than others, but at the end of the day, everyone gets the same thing.

What do you think about Tidal? Leave a comment below or follow me on Twitter @antoinette_8a.