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Jay Z’s Tidal gets a facelift, adds emphasis on video and exclusive content

It’s been just over two weeks since Jay Z’s recently acquired music streaming service, Tidal, launched to much fanfare, and the new owner is already unveiling significant updates to the platform. As reported by blog site That Eric Alper, the updated app released today highlights the service’s video content with more prominent video placement, as well as Tidal exclusives, and rising artists via new menu options,

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The new menu tabs, labeled “TIDAL rising” and “Videos,” are the service’s first significant visual differentiation from Spotify. The TIDAL rising tab brings up a rotation of eight recent albums and 25 tracks from rising artists. While Spotify also features new artists (most prominently through its extensive playlists), TIDAL rising’s on-screen prominence makes its focus on up-and-coming artists quite clear. The video tab brings up 40 new videos — some of which are exclusive to Tidal — including music videos, live performances and other content. Users can also directly link and share video content from Tidal with friends.

Apart from offering both a $20/month lossless audio tier along with the regular $10/month service, one of Tidal’s main selling points is exclusive content, which has so far been mostly video content. As Billboard reported, Jay Z exclusively premiered a 2012 performance of “Glory” on the platform today, featuring Nas, Alicia Keys and Questlove. Other exclusives on Tidal include new tracks from Rihanna and Beyonce, as well as other archival video from Alicia Keys, Daft Punk, Jack White, and others. Notably, much of this content has been pirated torrent sites soon after its initial release on Tidal.

Tidal is still a new platform coming into its own, but a splashy New York press conference, a charismatic super-star owner, and backing by major artists have all put the new service under scrutiny. Today’s updates further highlight Tidal’s attempts to differentiate itself from the wide field of competitors. But only time will tell if that will be enough to lure users from Spotify (which still offers a free ad-based service) or upcoming subscription rivals from the likes of tech monsters Apple, Google, and others.