UPDATE 2: Tidal is live-streaming Jay Z’s press conference at the bottom of the post.
UPDATE: Tidal has released a promo video for its upcoming livestream. In the clip, music artists who had aligned themselves with Jay Z’s new streaming service by changing their Twitter and Facebook profile photos to cyan blue appear to be showing up to a conference for the new platform either in person or via video.
— TIDAL (@TIDALHiFi) March 30, 2015
“The Tides They Are-A Changing,” Jay Z tweeted Sunday night, trumpeting the arrival of Tidal, the Swedish high-quality audio streaming service that the rapper recently purchased. Beyoncé, Kanye West, Jack White’s Third Man Records, Rihanna, Jason Aldean, Madonna, Calvin Harris, Arcade Fire, Coldplay, Daft Punk, deadmau5 and Nicki Minaj are among those who have aligned with Tidal, changing their Twitter and Facebook profile photos to cyan blue in support of Jay Z’s fledgling service.
“Together, we can turn the tide and make music history. Start by turning your profile picture blue,” Kanye tweeted, while Madonna wrote, “Music makes the people come together. Join Madonna and turn your profile picture blue. Do it for the music.” Each tweet was accompanied by the hashtag “#TIDALforALL.”
The new Tidal site is counting down towards 5 p.m., when Jay Z will conduct a “special announcement” in New York. The press conference will be streamed live on the Tidal site, which champions itself as “the first music streaming service that combines the best high fidelity sound quality, high definition music videos and expertly curated editorial.”
With streaming revenues passing CD sales and chipping away at digital downloads, Tidal enters a suddenly congested market that will soon also feature the rebooted service from Beats Music and Apple. However, like Neil Young’s Pono, Jay Z is hoping that an emerging taste for high-quality audio – spurred by the sales of boutique headphones like Beats by Dre – will give Tidal an advantage in a streaming war where every service can essentially offer the same music, albeit at different quality. In addition, many artists are beginning to grow disenchanted with streaming king Spotify for their meager pay-per-stream payout.
Beyoncé, West and White’s involvement suggests that the rapper might have another advantage in addition to superior-sounding streams: Exclusive content directly from major artists available only for Tidal users. Taylor Swift’s 1989, which the singer pulled from Spotify, is already available on Jay Z’s service.
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Tidal offers two price tiers: For $9.99 a month, Tidal Premium boasts standard quality sound along with high definition music videos. Tidal HiFi will cost $19.99 a month and features the Lossless High Fidelity sound quality that its competitors can’t offer, as well as the HD music videos and curated editorial. New users can sign up for a free 30-day trial to test out the service.