Tidal launched its music-sharing ‘DJ’ feature as a test within its Early Access Program in December 2022. Now it’s launching officially with a new name: Tidal Live.
As before, it’s a feature for Tidal subscribers to invite friends to listen to what they’re currently playing: essentially turning their personal stream into a private, invitation-only broadcast.
As part of the full launch, Tidal has also put together a team of curators to host their own genre-focused Live sessions: K-Pop, Latin, Hip-Hop/R&B, Jazz, Rock/Indie, Metal, Country/Folk/Americana etc.
A couple of the curators will focus on emerging artists under the Tidal Rising brand, and there are plans for guest Live hosts – DJs, producers and artists – too.
One restriction is that listeners will only be able to join these sessions in the country where their Tidal account is registered. However, this does indicate the feature’s global rollout, whereas the Early Access test was US-only.
Turning streaming listeners into radio-style broadcasters is an interesting concept, just as it is with startup Stationhead; with Amazon Music’s Amp offshoot; and (albeit not live) with Spotify’s ‘Music + Talk’ podcast format.
In the US this kind of thing is a positive step in one regard: these radio-style streams generate royalties from every listener, in contrast to the lack of performance royalties from terrestrial radio.
Elsewhere, it fuels debates about other aspects of the streaming economy.
In the UK, for example, there is an ongoing debate about whether radio-style features in streaming should use an ‘equitable remuneration’ model similar to that of traditional radio – with a bigger split of the royalties going to artists rather than labels.
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