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DUBAI: Global music and entertainment streaming service TIDAL launched in the United Arab Emirates today. Launched in 2015, the platform now offers over 80 million songs and playlists to listeners.

“The UAE is a leading cultural center and we believe that music is an important part of what drives the culture,” Lior Tibon, the company’s chief operating officer, told Arab News. “The growing consumption of music across the country, combined with its cultural influence, was a key driver for the UAE to become the first international country we launched 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% of global streaming service subscriber growth by 2028, according to MIDiA Research. “We think it’s important to give variety to artists and fans to meet that demand,” Tibon said.

TIDAL offers two subscription options for users: TIDAL HiFi and TIDAL HiFi Plus. The former is available for $5.50 per 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 per month, offers all the benefits of TIDAL HiFi plus fan-centric royalties, direct artist payments, and early access to exclusive offers and upcoming features.

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

“Beyond price, we’re the first platform to offer fans an improved way to support artists by expanding its support for artists with fairer compensation terms and faster payouts through direct-to-artist payments. and fan-centric royalties,” he said.

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

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

TIDAL considers itself an “artist-first” platform, offering direct-to-artist payments, meaning that each month a percentage of HiFi Plus subscriber fees are directed to their most streamed artist.

It’s also launching fan-centric royalties later this year, meaning royalties will be paid based on an individual HiFi Plus subscriber’s streaming activity.

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

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

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

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