Tidal offers access to paywall-free livestreaming series

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This weekend, you can watch Beyoncé from your couch.

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BY EVAN DESIMONE

Tidal, the subscription-based music streaming service fronted by rapper Jay Z and a coterie of music industry celebrities, has announced a rare pre-paywall livestream of select live performances from the Budweiser Made In America Festival, presented as part of the company’s Tidal X series.

Originally launched in 2014 as a high-fidelity alternative to streaming music platforms like Spotify, Tidal was re-launched with less emphasis on sound quality after being acquired by Jay Z’s Project Panther Ltd. in early 2015. The new “artist-owned” Tidal has caused controversy by emphasizing artist compensation for tracks, with Tidal-affiliated artists offering exclusive content behind a paywall. 

This weekend, Tidal will briefly bring down its walls by opening up Tidal X, its exclusive series of livestreamed performances and experiences, to the public with a series of performances from the Tidal Live stage at the Budweiser-sponsored music festival. The selection includes buzzy bands including Tanlines, the Struts, and Twin Peaks, along with mainstream headliners like Nick Jonas, the Weeknd, and birthday girl Beyoncé (born Sept. 4, 1981). A full list of performances is available below.

Tidal is part of a wave of services that are turning to exclusivity to earn subscriptions and recapture value from content. Vessel, which entered the online video market earlier this year with a similar business model, also relied on big-name digital stars signed to exclusive or content windowing deals to attract subscribers. Both services also leaned heavily on lengthy free trial subscriptions, most of which have yet to expire.

STREAMING STAGES:

SATURDAY, SEPT. 5

ROCKY STAGE

The Struts, Vic Mensa, De La Soul, Meek Mill, Modest Mouse, Beyoncé

LIBERTY STAGE

Young Rising Sons, Earl Sweatshirt, G-Eazy, Nick Jonas, Death Cab For     Cutie, Bassnectar
TIDAL STAGE

Bass Drum of Death, Mike Floss, Sarah Jaffe, Tanlines

SUNDAY, SEPT. 6

ROCKY STAGE   

Halsey, Action Bronson, Metric, Big Sean, J. Cole, the Weeknd

LIBERTY STAGE
Saint Motel, Fabolous, Santigold, Future, Banks, Axwell & Ingrosso
TIDAL STAGE

Bizzy Crook , Jidenna, Bully, Twin Peaks, Hippo Campus, Lili K

Photo via Ch Villa/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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