Jay Z’s streaming service, Tidal, offered a slew of announcements today in an effort to entice more users to the service, including a beta version of Tidal’s first desktop app, discounts on subscription fees for students, and a partnership with Ticketmaster, all of which will be arriving in “a few weeks.”
The desktop app appears to essentially be a port of the web player, for better or worse. Users can search through the 30 million songs on Tidal, but the new app still won’t allow users to search through Tidal’s library of 75,000 high quality videos. The app does include gapless playback, as well as compatibility with Apple’s AirPlay for wireless streaming over compatible devices, as well as the ability to recognize Digital Audio Converters (DACs) through the app from exterior audio components.
Tidal is also tinkering with its mobile experience. The company is working to improve the design and search functionality, including the addition of a new, more visible button for the “offline mode,” making it easier for users to cache music for offline playback. However, there’s no word on whether the offline playback will be added for videos, which would push it further into the space of YouTube’s yet-to-be-launched Music Key streaming service.
The music streaming industry is about to get a lot more crowded with impending releases from both Apple and the aforementioned YouTube service, competing with newly released features like video and podcasts from the on-demand industry champ, Spotify, which owns a massive market share of over 60 million users.
In order to stand out, Tidal is planning to expand one of its distinguishing features — live performances — with its new partnership with Ticketmaster that will enable Tidal users to track future concerts and purchase tickets from the Tidal app. This also means Tidal users will have access to exclusive ticket giveaways, pre-sales, and discounts.
The subscription-only service, which offers no free tier, is also aiming to attract one of the most active groups of music listeners: students. Students eligible to sign up will be able to do so at Tidal.com for a 50 percent discount which brings the service’s standard tier down to $5/month, and the higher resolution “Hi-Fi” tier to $10/month. Tidal partnered with online eligibility verification service, SheerID to ensure those signing up were current students. To verify status, students will need to upload either their student ID card, class schedule, transcript, or a school document with their full name.
Spotify also offers student discounts but, requires students to renew the discount every year or revert back to regular pricing. Spotify’s student program also only allows for four one-year sessions on the student account, whereas Tidal makes no mention of any restrictions on its student discounts.
Less than a week before Apple’s rumored reveal of the re-branded Beats Music service, Tidal continues scaling up its business and hoping to make a inroads in the market in the coming months.