Tidal has announced some significant changes coming to its platform. The company has announced that it is bringing a free, Spotify-like ad-sponsored, music streaming tier for the first time. Tidal's free music streaming plan is now available in the United States and the company says that the new tier provides "access to [its] entire music catalog and playlists, with limited interruptions."
The free Tidal tier will provide users access to all of Tidal's music library. Songs will be streamed at 160kbps AAC. Moreover, users will also get access to Tidal's "expert-curated playlists." Moreover, Tidal is upgrading its standard paid plan which now features high-resolution audio streaming. The standard plan has been renamed to Tidal HiFi. It costs $9.99 per month and provides access to music streaming with audio quality up to 1411kbps.
The higher-end plan is now called Tidal HiFi Plus. It costs $19.99 per month and provides access to everything on the Tidal platform. Tidal HiFi Plus will provide users the “best-in-class immersive sound formats” including Dolby Atmos and Sony 360 Audio tracks, so you'll have to pay more if you want access to the highest quality music.
Tidal has also announced some new initiatives for artists. The first one, called Direct-to-artist payments, will give artists access to an additional payment stream. This incentive will take 10% of the subscribers' membership fee and pay that to their top streamed artist. The more a user listens to an artist, the more share of that 10% they get. Tidal will also be highlighting a user's favorite artist on their profile along with how much they got paid.
Moreover, the company is launching fan-centered royalties. With fan-centered royalties, Tidal says it is taking a "different approach on royalties." The Verge has reported that in fan-centered royalties, "royalties attributed to HiFi Plus subscribers will not be aggregated. Rather, royalties will be paid based on the actual streaming activity of individual HiFi Plus subscribers as opposed to the industry-accepted method of aggregating streams, empowering fans to play a larger role in the success of their favorite artists."