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Everything You Need to Know about TIDAL

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Tidal Logo

Photo courtesy of Radio Survivor

Yesterday at 5 p.m. EDT, to much fanfare and anticipation, the music streaming service Tidal was launched – or rather, relaunched. Mogul and rapper Jay Z has spearheaded the initiative, and the amount of star power packed into his press conference was impressive, but what does the revamped Tidal service mean for the music industry, and more importantly, for the consumer?

TIDAL: A Brief History

Scandinavian tech company Aspiro, which was founded in 1998, launched TIDAL in 2014, a complement to their other streaming service WiMP, which was launched in 2010. Throughout Aspiro’s history, the company has acquired various smaller tech startups, numbering at least 13 in total between 2000 and 2008. As of January 30 of this year, Aspiro announced a $56 million takeover bid from Project Panther Bidco, Ltd. Project Panther is indirectly owned and controlled by Shawn Carter, aka, Jay Z. While some shareholders objected to the takeover, claiming it undervalued the growth potential of Aspiro, the bid was accepted on March 13, 2015, with over 90% of shareholders in favor of the acquisition.

TIDAL itself is a relatively young streaming service. What differentiates it from other similar streaming services is that it boasts lossless audio streaming and HD video (currently available only to TIDAL HiFi subscribers), with over 25 million tracks and 75,000 music videos at its disposal at this point in time, with plans to increase the media library. Unlike many other competitors, however, TIDAL is a subscription-only service. Their base-plan, TIDAL Premium, will cost you $9.99 per month, with an option to upgrade to the more high-definition TIDAL HiFi for $19.99 monthly.

TIDAL: Star Power in Numbers

Part of what makes TIDAL “special” was the dramatic public showing of musician support – and ownership. On Monday afternoon, musicians as disparate as Rihanna and Arcade Fire, Madonna and Jason Aldean all signed on to become part owners in the TIDAL service. Touted as a move toward regaining artistic control and integrity over their music, the musicians and performers who joined Jay Z in his venture are also hoping to profit significantly from their decision. (What, did you think Taylor Swift pulling her music from Spotify last year was a coincidence? Jay Z and Beyonce attended her birthday party in December – I seriously doubt they chatted about her Scottish fold kitties over cake and ice cream, but I’ve been wrong before.)

Taylor Swift Birthday

Better birthday than yours. Photo courtesy of People

If TIDAL takes off – that is, if consumers opt for a pay subscription streaming service over the free varieties – return on investment for these artists could change the music industry, but just how much will remain to be seen. What is important to note is that, like Miss Swift before them, the potential for other artists to pull their music from services like Spotify and Pandora and possibly even iTunes is quite high, all in order to lockdown their work and retain the ability to profit from it at a margin they have more control over. One artist pointed out that the royalties TIDAL pays are three times that of Spotify, and with plagiarism and piracy of intellectual property so easy and prevalent today, it’s really no surprise that musicians are moving in this direction.

Moreover, the intimate relationship with musicians that TIDAL is cultivating means subscribers can get immediate access to the newest music from their favorite artists. If Jack White writes a song on Monday, his fans will likely be able to stream it the second he pushes “publish.” Talk about instant gratification.

What TIDAL Means for Music

Despite questions on whether consumers will dive into the TIDAL pool (sorry, we like puns around here), TIDAL’s relaunch underscores that streaming media is now the norm. No longer the supplemental form of music and movie consumption, streaming media isn’t the wave of the future, it’s the way we listen and watch across the board. From Netflix to Hulu, HBO Go to iTunes, we now want our media delivered to our devices on demand – no waiting, no buying physical product, and no real commitment.

As for the potential success of TIDAL, we’ll have to wait and see, but looking at the sheer number and variety of artists brought aboard as part owners, it’s hard to imagine the venture won’t be commercially viable. It’s interesting to see a return to artist-controlled production and dissemination of media, but it’s been attempted before; Charlie Chaplin helped form United Artists production company in 1919 under the auspices that actors and directors could control their own creative output. The difference, of course, is that UA wasn't charging their fans a subscription fee. UA went public in 1957, and Transamerica Corporation grabbed up huge portions of the company by the 1960s, and United Artists is now majority owned by MGM Holdings, you know, one of those giant production companies that the actors were attempting to fight against almost a century ago.

Written by Jordan Wells & Courtney King


What People Are Talking About

Jeremy Clarkson Sacked

Source: YouTube.com

Top Gear was launched in 1977 as a car program consisting of car reviews, information about insurance, speeding, and other dull topics you would expect from a 1970s British informational show. At the beginning of the new millennium, the show’s audience dropped to under three million and was consequently cancelled in 2001 only to be resurrected a year later in 2002.

Since its relaunch, the show has gone on to become a global hit, led by primary host, Jeremy Clarkson, and supported by former radio host, Richard Hammond, and science and technology journalist, James May. It is estimated that Top Gear has around 350 million viewers per week hailing from 170 different countries. While the show is informative, its quirkiness and sometimes controversial humor and antics (mostly from Clarkson) are what make it so popular.

Unfortunately, Clarkson’s antics ultimately led to his firing last week. After a long day of filming earlier this month, the star presenter did not receive the steak dinner he had requested, which led to an inebriated Clarkson verbally and physically attacking Top Gear producer Oisin Tymon. On March 25th the BBC released a statement confirming that Clarkson’s contract, which expires at the end of the month, will not be renewed. While the BBC says Top Gear will continue without Clarkson, (and quite possibly without Hammond and May) most can agree the show will never be the same.



Major Onsales This Week: Eagles, Ringo Starr, and more!

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The iconic rock band is extending its History of the Eagles Tour into 2015 with a slate of shows from mid-May to the end of July. Find tickets now!

Ringo Starr

Former Beatles drummer, Ringo Starr is embarking on a North American tour this fall! Onsales for the tour begin today including dates in Milwaukee, WI and Boise, ID.


Don't miss out on your chance to get WWE tickets. Onsales for many WWE events begin today and tomorrow for dates in Brooklyn, NY; Raleigh, NC; Nashville, TN; and many more!


#TBT: Top Five Alter Egos on Stage

What do David Bowie, Beyonce, and Garth Brooks have in common? They all stepped out of themselves to put on a new face and performance for the stage! While many performers have pulled similar stunts, here are our top five alter egos. Hold on to your butts, it's gonna be a weird ride.

5) Chris Gaines

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Photo courtesy of tasteofcountry.com

The late 1990s were an odd time. We were in the throes of a bull market, Britney Spears was a fresh-faced ingénue with all of her hair intact (and in pigtails), and country-pop was all the rage. We weren’t even at war with anyone. It was in this cultural climate of excess and sunny emotions that we were first introduced to the remarkable artiste Chris Gaines. 


What's Trending Wednesday: Van Halen Tour

Concert News image

Heavy metal band Van Halen has just announced they will embark on a massive North American tour in 2015. The tour, which will take them to every corner of the country, will make stops in almost 40 cities, giving Van Halen fans far and wide a chance to see the band. It will kick off on July 5th in Seattle, WA and will finally wrap up on October 2nd in Los Angeles, CA. As with the band’s last two tours, original Van Halen front man, David Lee Roth will be taking on the role of lead vocalist.

Last time Van Halen went on tour was in 2012 on the “Viva La Van Halen Tour,” which was in support of the band’s twelfth studio album, A Different Kind of Truth. The first leg of the “Viva La Van Halen Tour” went on as planned, but the second North American leg of the tour was postponed and eventually cancelled. While it was rumored that the remainder of the tour was cancelled due to fighting between band members, David Lee Roth released a video denying those rumors, stating, “as usual, we bit off way more than we could chew when it came to scheduling.” The “Viva La Van Halen Tour” had over 90 shows scheduled across three continents, which is a heavy workload for any band, let alone a band whose members were close to 60 years old.

With less than half of the number of shows scheduled this time around, Van Halen fans have little to worry about in terms of dates getting cancelled. Their upcoming tour will follow the release of the album, Tokyo Dome Live in Concert, which will come out on March 31. They are also releasing remastered versions of Van Halen and 1984 on the same day. Later this spring, the band will be releasing new versions of Van Halen II, Women and Children First, Fair Warning and Diver Down. Van Halen, who currently consists of David Lee Roth, Eddie and Alex Van Halen, and Eddie’s son, Wolfgang, will be joined by the Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band, who will perform as their opening act.

Want to see Van Halen in concert? Find tickets right here and go see them take the stage in a city near you!

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