TIDAL Will Abolish “Pay Artists Direct” Program to Invest More in Emerging Artists

TIDAL Will Abolish “Pay Artists Direct” Program to Invest More in Emerging Artists

TIDAL Will Abolish “Pay Artists Direct” Program to Invest More in Emerging Artists

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Block-owned music streaming service TIDAL is changing the way it pays artists after an experimental program failed to generate results.


Unlike Spotify and other market leaders, which pay musicians small fractions (…fractions) of cents for each play, TIDAL has taken a more imaginative approach to payments to artists. The platform, which targets consumers seeking a higher quality audio experience, introduced a new Direct Artist Payments (DAP) program last year. For HiFi Plus tier customers at $19.99/month, each individual subscriber’s most streamed artist would receive 10% of their subscription fee.

It turns out that plan didn’t work. In April, TIDAL will end the DAP program.

“The DAP program focused only on a listener’s #1 artist, leaving much, much less room for emerging artists to get paid,” TIDAL CEO Jesse Dorogusker wrote in a post. Twitter feed Today. He said that 70,000 artists signed up for the program, but they only paid out $500,000, which was “a long way” from TIDAL’s goal.

Instead of DAP, TIDAL is pouring more money into its TIDAL Rising program, which promotes emerging musicians. Dorogusker said TIDAL will invest at least $5 million in the program, more than ten times what it has paid artists through DAP since early 2022.

TIDAL Rising supports select emerging artists by making documentaries and other promotional material to help accelerate their careers – program alumni include Alessia Cara, Chloe x Halle, and 21 Savage. Dorogusker referenced a recent initiative by TIDAL in Georgiawhich featured four local artists, as an example of the kinds of programs we can expect to see more of.

For those interested in more artist-friendly streaming payments, this news may seem a bit bittersweet. But it’s possible that DAP didn’t work simply because TIDAL doesn’t have as many subscribers as its competitors – last year TIDAL held less than 2% of the global streaming music subscription market, while that Spotify owned 31% and Apple Music had 15%. As Dorogusker pointed out, the DAP model was also a bit counterintuitive, since payments only went to a subscriber’s top artist. Deezer, a French music streaming platform, has proposed moving to a user-centric payment system, which distributes a user’s subscription fees proportionally among all the artists they listen to. The streamer was unable to implement this, as labels have to agree to the experimental system.


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