Taylor Swift, part-time pop star and full-time crusader for the rights of impoverished pop artists, made headlines last year when she yanked her music off Spotify. Well, streaming Swift is back — on a service you've probably never heard of.
Tidal was a tiny Norwegian streaming service that basically no-one had heard of, until Jay-Z bought it (and parent company Aspiro) in January. The service is meant to offer a premium streaming experience, with 25 million high-definition tracks offered in lossless format, for a fairly steep $US20 a month.
But far, far more importantly, it is now home to Taylor Swift's back collection (although not new album 1989). Sure, Swift's music is also available to stream on Beats Music and Rhapsody, but Tidal, with its Spotify-esque UI and focus on high-quality streaming, is probably the best alternative to Spotify.
More importantly, it's also a statement of intent for Tidal and Jay-Z. Swift is probably the biggest name in music at the moment. And, as Spotify will tell you, she's also one of the most difficult to land. If Tidal can continue to tap Jay-Z's friendships to expand its music collection, we could finally have a service that can threaten Spotify's dominance. And maybe, just maybe, I'll be able to listen to 1989 again. [Billboard]