What Jay Z's Tidal Means for the Freemium vs. Premium Debate

March 30, 2015 10:58 PM

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Jay Z’s Tidal is a lot of things: a star-studded streaming service with 17 of music’s biggest names as key stakeholders; an ambitious new player in a still-nascent but increasingly competitive marketplace that includes iTunes, Beats, Spotify, Pandora, Rdio and Deezer; and a $56.2 million bet on the future of high-definition “lossless” audio, a technology in which fellow musician Neil Youngis also heavily invested.

But it’s also the latest step in moving the music industry toward its “Netflix” inflection point: converting consumers who are used to streaming content for free to pay a monthly fee. As Universal Music chairman Lucian Grainge said at the Code/Media Conference in February, “We want to accelerate pai...

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