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DUBAI: Global music and entertainment streaming service TIDAL has launched in the UAE today. First launched in 2015, the platform now offers over 80 million songs and playlists to listeners.

“The UAE is a leading cultural hub and we believe music is a huge part of what drives culture,” Lior Tibon, chief operating officer of the company, told Arab News. “The increasing consumption of music across the country combined with its cultural influence has been a key driver in the UAE becoming the first international country for us to launch in this year.”

The Middle East and North Africa region, along with Latin America, Asia Pacific and Africa, is expected to account for more than 70 percent of global subscriber growth for streaming services by 2028, according to MIDiA Research. “We believe that giving artists and fans variety is important to match this demand,” said Tibon.

TIDAL offers two subscription options for users: TIDAL HiFi and TIDAL HiFi Plus. The former is available for $5.50 a month and offers an ad-free experience where users can connect the app to other speakers and download music for offline listening.

TIDAL HiFi Plus, which is available for $11 a month, offers all the benefits of TIDAL HiFi as well as fan-centered royalties, direct-to-artist payouts, and early access to exclusive offerings and upcoming features.

Although more users are willing to pay for streaming today than ever before, several competitors offer free versions for those reluctant to pay. Tibon, however, doesn’t necessarily see TIDAL’s paid model as a barrier to entry.

“Beyond price, we are the first platform to provide an improved way for fans to support artists by extending its support for artists with fairer earning terms and quicker payments through direct-to-artist payouts and fan-centered royalties,” he said.

Still, the option of a free version isn’t out of bounds. In November 2021, TIDAL introduced a free version in the US “to encourage fans to explore our deep catalog before committing to our paid membership tiers,” Tibon added.

The company is currently evaluating the possibility of rolling out the free tiers in other markets. “We are exploring alternative ways to partner locally to give potential members alternative ways to experience TIDAL for the first time,” he said.

TIDAL considers itself an “artist-first” platform, offering direct-to-artist payouts, which means every month a percentage of HiFi Plus subscribers’ fees are directed toward their top streamed artist.

It is also launching fan-centered royalties later this year, which means royalties will be paid based on the streaming activity of an individual HiFi Plus subscriber.

As part of its commitment to artists, the company has an emerging artists program, TIDAL Rising, which is dedicated to upcoming artists with the aim of introducing listeners to new music they may have missed. “We believe there are lots of innovative ways to improve how emerging artists are supported so watch this space,” said Tibon.

“We will also be showcasing new music from local UAE artists across a range of genres with dedicated playlists for the first time,” he added. 

TIDAL is now available to download on Android and Apple devices.

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