US rappers Kanye West and Jay-Z (L) perf

Source: GUILLAUME BAPTISTE / Getty

What once seemed like an uphill battle for Jay Z’s new streaming service TIDAL now looks like an industry takeover.

Last night Jay Z took to Twitter to drop a vague announcement about the impending launch of TIDAL and a drove of high-profile musicians followed suit with public support for the campaign.

Falling in line with Jay’s announcement, artists like Kanye WestMadonna, Rihanna, and deadmau5 turned their Twitter profiles turquoise and set off a wave of speculation about what the coordinated marketing scheme might bring.

Earlier this month, Hov bought Swedish streaming company Aspiro and is set to relaunch the high-fidelity streaming service under the TIDAL brand here in the States.

TIDAL’s branding and marketing flies in the face of streaming giant Spotify and Jay has been quietly mounting an effort level the playing field for musicians in the streaming world. Since part of the push is a better payout for artists whose music is being streamed, TIDAL enters the market as a premium service with a price-tag to match.

On the consumer end, TIDAL promises higher quality audio streaming than any other service on the market. The streaming outlet stacks up nicely against Spotify with a library of 25 million songs, five million more than Spotify advertised in a report last year. TIDAL also streams music “at more than four times the bit rate” of any other competing service, according to Billboard. In addition to the music, the TIDAL catalog also includes some 75,000 music videos that users can stream from a dedicated iOS or Android app as well as a web player.

Maybe more importantly, Jay Z has quickly positioned TIDAL as a destination for major artists like the ones listed above to premiere their new music. According to the Swedish website Breakit, artists like Kanye West and Madonna will give TIDAL first access to their new music before it becomes available to stream on Spotify or other players.

As with all things, the incentives come at a price. TIDAL charges $19.99 per month for its premium service which boasts the high-quality audio and $9.99 for the standard fare. For now it sounds promising but the service has a long way to go: TIDAL currently only has some 35,000 subscribers paying the higher price while Spotify bragged about its 15 million paying subscribers just a couple months ago. All of that is likely to change when the service officially launches in the U.S. later today.

Right now the TIDAL website shows a countdown to Jay Z’s upcoming press conference about the launch. Watch the livestream below at 5pm today.

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