Jay Z set to unveil Spotify rival TIDAL

Coming as little surprise to anyone that followed Jay Z’s recent acquisition of Swedish streaming company Aspiro earlier this month, the media mogul is set to announce the official launch of the brand new music service TIDAL, which seems poised to instantly unsettle Spotify’s reign at the top.

Offering higher quality music streams as well as HD videos, TIDAL will also have plans available for lossless streams and curated playlists. However, the most important thing the service can boast from the start is the roster of artists participating, including the most notorious Spotify absentee, Taylor Swift’s “1989” album. The fact that she is giving TIDAL access to the album implies that Jay Z’s venture will offer artists a larger share of royalty payments, and depending what that number is, it may send other services scrambling to keep up.

However, TIDAL will also answer the pressing question of whether or not listeners are willing to pay more (more than double in this case) for higher quality streams, as the Lossless High Fidelity package offered by TIDAL will run $19.99 per month, versus their standard package of $9.99. Even at the lower tier, the company states it will have the “best” sound, indicating that they’ll stream above Spotify’s bit rate, and again, other services will likely have to play catch up.

Along with having deals in place with every major label, a wide range of top artists have already pledged their involvement and support of TIDAL, with the likes of Madonna, Kanye West, Arcade Fire, Daft Punk and Jack White’s Third Man Records turning their Twitter photos turquoise and using the #TIDALforALL tag on posts. Nicki Minaj, deadmau5, Alicia Keys and many others are featured in a teaser video for the site, and a “special announcement” is set for 5pm EST this evening.

Since there is currently no “free” option available on a long term basis, TIDAL is offering a 30 day trial to test out the site, and if all of their promises of content and quality are true, Jay Z will indeed have another game changing venture on his hands.

UPDATE (6:09pm): The 5pm announcement was little more than an ego-fest for the dozen or so artists involved in the above video. After a far-too-long introduction of the musicians, Alicia Keys spoke in dream-speak for about 5 minutes, before the musicians signed a “deceleration” of some sort. No real information about the product was given, and it may have created more questions than it answered.