As TechCrunch reports, the formerly Jay-Z owned music streaming service Tidal and DistroKid (a popular independent music distributor), have teamed up to introduce a direct artist payment system.
As the tech site notes, “this partnership foreshadows a larger pivot from Tidal toward experimenting with streaming payout models that are thought to distribute funds more equitably to musicians who don’t get millions of streams on any given day (AKA, people who aren’t Taylor Swift or Lil Nas X).”
How would that work? The subscription to Tidal’s Hi-Fi Plus plan costs $19.99 per month, and out of that monthly subscription up to 10% (or about $2) will be distributed to your most-listened-to artist (so long as that artist uses DistroKid). That percentage shrinks if you’re paying for your subscription through a service that takes a cut, like the Apple or Google app stores.
Tidal told TechCrunch that it also struck similar deals with independent distributors like CD Baby, Equity Distribution, Stem, Symphonic, Tunecore, and Vydia.
This model is an example of a user-centric payment system (UCPS), which is generally favored by artists.
Deezer, another streaming service that uses UCPS, says that this system helps individual fans more directly and transparently support their favorite artists since their subscription fee is distributed to the artists they listen to.
TechCrunch adds that currently, major streaming platforms like Apple Music and Spotify pay per stream. But the growth of music streaming services — an attempted answer to the crisis of music piracy — has been, on the whole, not great for musicians.