Aspire announced plans to rebrand its WiMP HiFi streaming service as Tidal for non-Scandinavian markets earlier this year. Yesterday Tidal went live in its first two countries: the US and UK. The details were already known: a catalogue of 25m songs at lossless quality; a WiMP-like mixture of videos and editorial around those audio tracks; and a monthly subscription costing $19.99 / £19.99, with the aim of persuading audiophiles to pay more for high-quality streaming than regular fans pay for standard services. In the US, Tidal will initially be competing with Deezer Elite, which is five dollars cheaper but only available through one hardware partner, Sonos. Tidal is claiming 34 partners with more to follow. In the UK, Qobuz will be its main rival for now. Some stats: in Scandinavia, WiMP had 580,000 paying subscribers at the end of June according to Aspiro’s financial results, including 17,000 signed up to WiMP HiFi. Still a niche, but one worth exploring.

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