Spotify invades PlayStation as Tidal heats up the music streaming industry

Celebrity rapper Jay-Z is finally set to launch his fully-owned Tidal music streaming service on the wireless Hi-Fi system Sonos.

Known for its superior quality streams, Tidal currently charges a monthly subscription of $19.95 for Hi-Fi and $9.99 for Premium music streaming, almost twice the amount than those offered by other music streaming services.

This may seem a no-brainer to figure if listeners will want to pay double just for a better sound quality, but here's the catch.

Taylor Swift has made her catalog available on Tidal since removing it from Spotify in the winter. As if it weren't enough, Jay-Z has brought in the who's who from the American music industry to endorse the launch. They include his celebrity wife Beyonce, Kanye West, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, Madonna, Coldplay, Jack White, Daft Punk, Arcade Fire, Chris Martin and Usher.

Adding new celebrity endorsers by the minute, the list is set to grow even further by the time the launch kicks off at 5PM EST, which is 10PM tonight in UK.

Word is out that the exodus away from Spotify is a rebellion of sorts. Big ticket American singers have for long protested against the peanuts that Spotify served out to them in the name of royalty.

Tidal calls itself "the first music streaming service that combines the best high fidelity sound quality, high definition music videos and expertly curated editorial," which is definitely not a niche in itself. Deezer Elite offers similar audio performance at half the price. But like Spotify will see it, the avalanche of the best of the best across genres will surely be a head-turner.

John MacFarlane, CEO of Sonos, concurs. "Artists are more in tune than ever with how people are listening to their music. The game just changed – Tidal represents the future of music," he said.

Spotify's response, predictably, is making its services available for gamers via a new app for Sony's PS3 and PS4 consoles. We won't call it a knee-jerk reaction though.

A deal with Sony was cut in the end of January which made Spotify the exclusive music streaming platform for PlayStation devices and Xperia phones and tablets. It also saw the demise of Sony's home-grown Music Unlimited streaming service that was set to close down in all 19 countries on 29th March. Existing subscribers were to receive complimentary subscriptions for Spotify's music streaming services for Sony devices, as well as a trial version of Spotify's premium services.

Being the world's largest and most popular music streaming service, Spotify saw its premium-account subscriptions top the £100 million mark for the first time in 2013 with the figure poised to double at the end of last year. The deal with Sony was seen as the icing on the cake. Until now.

Infused with Jay-Z's $56 million cash infusion, Tidal's star-studded launch is sure to be the mother of all eye catchers. While Spotify could still be a bridge too far at the moment, Tidal will keep an eye on music streaming rivals like the Apple Streaming Service through a new-look iTunes Radio, Deezer and Beats Music which offer subscriptions at $10 a month.

With trade music revenues all set to top the £2 billion mark this year in UK, Tidal will surely be keen to make its mark across the pond sooner than later. Whether British artists will follow the lead of their American counterparts will be interesting to see in the year ahead. 

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