Tidal Announces Free Music Tier, Plus User-Centric Payments

Tidal Announces Free Music Tier, Plus User-Centric Payments


Tidal is introducing a free tier for music fans in the U.S and new methods for paying artists. The latest updates come after being acquired by Square in March.

The company now offers three membership subscriptions, including Tidal Free (U.S. only), Tidal HiFi, and Tidal HiFi Plus. 

For the first time, fans will be able to access its catalog and playlists at no cost, with “limited interruptions.”

Tidal HiFi subscribers will get “interruption-free” access to HiFi sound quality, as well as offline capabilities, all for $9.99 a month.

For $19.99 a month, Tidal HiFi Plus includes immersive sound formats (Dolby Atmos Music and Sony 360 Audio Recordings) and Master Quality Authenticated. Fans will also get early access to exclusive offerings and forthcoming features.

In addition, the streaming service announced new methods for paying artists based on streaming: direct-to-artist payments and fan-centered royalties.

The direct-to-artist monthly payments go into effect today and will be an additional revenue stream for musical acts.

According to Tidal, a percentage of HiFi Plus subscribers’ membership fees will be allocated to their top streamed artist, which the user will see in their activity feed. These payments will be in addition to the artist’s standard streaming royalties. 

In 2022, Tidal will roll out its new fan-centered royalties model, where revenue will be paid to artists based on the actual streaming activity of individual HiFi Plus users instead of the industry-standard aggregated model.

“We’re building a platform that values art, artists, and culture, and for the first time opening the platform experience up to a wider group of fans with the free tier,” said Jesse Dorogusker, Head of TIDAL. “TIDAL is also supporting artists with fairer earning terms and quicker payments, and fans are getting a better way to support their favorite artists. These offerings are the first step of many, and we’re excited to collaborate with artists to evolve our tools to help them continue to grow and create on their own terms.”



To help expedite payments to artists globally, Tidal has teamed with Square, Cash App, and PayPal. For indie artists, Tidal has secured partnerships with distributors such as CD Baby, DistroKid, Stem, Symphonic, and Tunecore, to ensure artists can receive their payments through in-platform registration.

Equity Distribution and Vydia will soon join the other distributors in supporting Tidal’s new approach to paying artists.