Ah, to be a lover rejected by Taylor Swift–or, as the case may be, to be a music streaming service publicly scorned by the pop star. After pulling all her albums from Spotify late last year, Swift has repeatedly criticized the company for offering a free tier that she says is unfair to artists. Now she is throwing her weight behind another, much smaller streaming service. Her albums will soon be available on Swedish streaming company Tidal, whose parent company Aspiro was recently snatched up by Jay Z for $56 million.
Aspiro’s streaming services, WiMP and Tidal, are essentially high-end alternatives to Spotify, albeit with a much smaller user base of only a few hundred thousand. Tidal boasts high-fidelity digital audio and will have a price tag of $20 a month when it launches on March 30, which might explain its appeal to both audiophiles and pop star crusaders. Swift is still, however, keeping her new album 1989 under wraps, so you won’t be able to get your fill of “Shake It Off” through Tidal.
Swift headed up a coup of sorts last November when she pulled all of her albums from Spotify. She spent the end of 2014 advocating for artists’ rights and royalties, arguing that Spotify’s ad-supported free streaming tier undervalued artists and didn’t compensate them fairly. Swift did, however, make her music catalog available to Rhapsody and Beats Music, both of which are subscription-only platforms that charge users $10 per month.
We’ll have to wait and see if the Swift name–coupled with the cachet of Jay Z’s branding–will bring her devoted legions of fans over to Tidal, though it’s a tough sell to users, at a rate that’s twice as expensive as Beats or even Google Play Music. The sweet spot may well be audio buffs who, try as they might, can’t seem to get Swift’s pop tunes out of their Grado-outfitted heads.