Beyoncé’s Tidal Exclusive a Hint at Company’s Obstacles

April 5, 2015 Updated: April 17, 2015

Beyoncé’s new video, “Die With You,” released on Saturday is available exclusively on the newly launched music streaming service Tidal—except for pirated copies everywhere on the Internet.

“Die With You” is a piano ballad dedicated to the singer’s seventh wedding anniversary with Jay Z. In it, Beyoncé sports the natural, minimal makeup look she had in her video for dance hit “7/11” and a similar, home video, shaky camera style of filming. At the end of the video, the camera tilts, and a smiling Jay Z turns it off.

Tidal has heavily promoted the celebrity access it grants subscribers, with handcrafted playlists from artists and exclusive footage, but Beyoncé’s new ballad has been quickly passed around media sites, social media sites, and SoundCloud.

A similar phenomenon has occurred to Rihanna’s latest single, which dropped last week. 

Many of those copies are pulled down for copyright reasons, but others spring up to replace them. It raises the question of whether an expensive, higher-end brand like Tidal can survive on the Internet, while being plagued by piracy and sharing sites.

Over 60 million music listeners already subscribe to streaming service competitor Spotify, which has a free version, unlike Tidal.

The other benefit Tidal is touting is its high fidelity sound quality, but only attuned audiophiles with expensive pairs of headphones can tell the difference. High fidelity sound quality can also be obtained with a premium subscription to Spotify ($10 a month, and only $5 a month for students) and the free application Fidelify.

Computer sound files are usually compressed to reduce the file size, resulting in lowered sound quality. The higher fidelity sound that Tidal and Fidelify offer is also an attempt to bring back the quality that CDs possess.

Jay Z said in an event last Wednesday about Tidal that he would convince people of the value of music, combatting declining CD sales and the growing prevalence of music streaming apps that pay lesser royalties to artists.