Image Credit: TIDAL

User-centric TIDAL artist payout system royalty experiment Direct Artist Payouts has been replaced with funding for emerging music artists through TIDAL RISING.

TIDAL has announced the end of its Direct Artist Payout programme. Launched in 2021, the scheme saw 10% of HiFi Plus subscribers’ monthly subscription fees go straight to their most-streamed artist. But the programme, TIDAL says, was just an experiment, one that didn’t succeed as well as hoped.

Whilst this might seem a blow to advocates of user-centric streaming models – wherein royalties go directly to most-played artists instead of a pro-rata model of divvying up a pot of royalties by percentage – TIDAL was quick to say there would be a “higher impact” replacement for the scheme. A recent deal with Universal Music also offered a clue for future investment into better economic value for artists.

Why has the programme come to an end? Jesse Dorogusker, TIDAL CEO, explained the reasoning and what will replace the scheme in a Twitter thread.

Since March 2021, $500,000 has been distributed to the 70,000 artists enrolled on the scheme. This came on top of standard royalties. This total, however, was apparently far lower than TIDAL had envisioned.

Direct Artists Payouts were intended as a way for artists to receive revenue straight from fans. Fans could feel safe in the knowledge that streaming royalties from their subscription fee and advertising revenue were going towards their favourite music artist.

The money is instead being redirected to TIDAL RISING, a scheme which debuted in 2015 to give funding, education and promotion to emerging artists. TIDAL will also be increasing funding to the scheme, ten times more than what was being paid out under Direct Artist Payouts. 

TIDAL artists can sign up to TIDAL RISING for consideration here.

This also coincides with TIDAL partnering with Universal Music with a pledge to build a new economic model for music streaming, with an eye on future “direct funding” for artists. Dorogusker also noted that the HiFi Plus tier still pays artists more than TIDAL’s other subscription options.

The takeaway is that TIDAL is open to alternative streaming models, and keen to ensure better value for music artists, even if some experiments don’t pay off along the way. 

Release music on TIDAL without paying a penny with RouteNote.

Get unlimited music distribution for an unlimited number of artists for free to TIDAL, Apple Music, Spotify, Qobuz, and music platforms around the world. Sign up here quickly and easily today!