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Tidal (stylized in all caps) is a subscription-based music, podcast and video streaming service that combines lossless audio and high-definition music videos with exclusive content and special features on music. Tidal was launched in 2014 by Norwegian public company Aspiro and is now owned by Project Panther Bidco.
With distribution agreements with all three major record labels and many independent labels, Tidal claims to offer access to more than 60 million tracks and 240,000 music videos. It offers two levels of service: Tidal Premium (lossy quality) and Tidal HiFi (lossless CD quality – FLAC-based 16-Bit/44.1 kHz – and MQA – typically lossy 24-bit/96 kHz). Tidal claims to pay the highest percentage of royalties to music artists and songwriters within the music streaming market.
In March 2015, Aspiro was acquired by Project Panther Bidco Ltd., which relaunched the service with a mass-marketing campaign, promoting it as the first artist-owned streaming service. On January 23, 2017, Sprint Corporation bought 33% of Tidal for a reported $200 million.
While some observers praised the high fidelity, lossless audio quality, and higher subscription fees that would result in higher royalties to the artists and songwriters, others felt the high subscription fees and exclusive Tidal content from the artists involved could lead to more music piracy. Tidal has claimed to have over 3 million subscribers, although the veracity of those claims as well as their reported streaming numbers have been questioned. As of October 2020, Tidal operates in 55 countries.
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