Get Funding & Stay in Control

Get an Estimate

How Much Does Tidal Pay Per Stream?

How Much Does Tidal Pay Per Stream?

Whether you’re an emerging or an established musician, producer, singer-songwriter, or any kind of music industry professional, you’ll agree that having a strong online presence is key to building a fanbase nowadays. What’s more, distributing your music in record shops or touring merch stands just won’t cut it; you’ll need to be present on all the major music streaming platforms to reach your target audience. 

Music fans spend more time streaming music on platforms like Spotify, Apple, Pandora, Amazon, Tidal, YouTube, and even TikTok, than they do browsing vinyl and CDs in record stores. If your fan base consists mostly of teens or Gen Z-ers, your best chance of reaching their ears is through digital streaming platforms. 

Going viral on TikTok is another option, but it’s a challenge due to the high volume of content creators fighting for attention. Making sure your music is available for people to discover and enjoy on the top streaming platforms is your best bet to getting your music in front of your desired audience. 

Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, Amazon Music, SoundCloud, and Tidal - these are some of the top music streaming platforms you’ll want to be on. But what exactly is in it for you? Today we’re taking a look at how Tidal works for artists, and how much the platform pays per stream, so you can get a better picture of its benefits - and its disadvantages. 

What is Tidal? 

Tidal is a digital music streaming platform launched back in 2014 by Norwegian-based company Aspiro. The platform really took off when it was bought by rapper Jay-Z, alongside other high-profile artists like Kanye West, Rihanna, and Madonna, to name a few. Meant to be a platform run by artists for artists, Tidal quickly gained popularity because it was very artist-focused, offering high-quality audio streaming compared to other platforms. It also focused on fair compensation for musicians and offered exclusive content like album releases, videos, behind-the-scenes content, remixes, and more. 

Tidal stands out from other music streaming platforms by offering two different subscription tiers: Tidal Premium and Tidal HiFi. The HiFi tier offers higher-quality, FLAC audio streaming, which delivers a superior sound quality and experience compared to MP3 formats. It’s a great option for audiophiles who are looking for quality similar to that of a CD or even a vinyl record. At the same time, it’s a great way of emphasizing an artist’s creativity and song complexity, keeping the quality consistent even when listening on your phone or laptop, as most people tend to do nowadays. 

How does Tidal pay musicians?

Musicians earn money on Tidal whenever one of their songs is streamed by a Tidal subscriber. The way that these payouts work is complex, depending on different factors like the agreements negotiated between the platform and record labels, artists, and distributors. Payouts don’t have a fixed price per stream, and instead are calculated based on the revenue pool that artists belong to. We do know that Tidal is focused on fair compensation for artists, which means that musicians tend to earn slightly more per stream compared to other platforms, especially when dealing with higher-tier subscribers. 

For instance, Tidal’s Direct Artists Payout (DAP) program, now defunct, allowed artists to receive payment through the membership charge of HiFi Plus subscribers on Tidal. An artist with a high number of streams received close to 10% of the subscription charge paid by the subscriber. This meant that, if you had loyal ‘superfans’ who streamed your music repeatedly, you would benefit from it and receive part of their subscription charge. Tidal closed the DAP program in 2023 and launched a new, similar initiative dubbed Tidal Rising, which focuses on boosting exposure of emerging artists. 

Benefits of Tidal for musicians

There are several reasons to be on Tidal if you’re an emerging artist, including:

  • Higher royalty rates compared to other platforms, especially for artists with a high number of streams and listeners.
  • Focus on artist ownership - with so many high-profile artists involved in the Tidal ownership, the platform is very artist-friendly, giving musicians more control and better deals compared to other music streaming platforms.
  • Exclusive content - Tidal is well-known for offering exclusive content opportunities that benefit both fans and artists, from album launches and music videos to behind-the-scenes content, demos, remixes, and more.
  • Support for artists - Tidal often hosts benefit concerts, exclusive artist events, and educational initiatives to help emerging artists develop their careers and build a solid fan base. The platform hosted exclusive concerts during the Covid19 pandemic to provide financial assistance to artists in need. 
  • High-quality audio streaming - through the HiFi subscription tier, Tidal provides an elevated listening experience, featuring lossless, CD-quality audio streaming. This can be a make-or-break benefit when it comes to audiophiles or users placing high value on sound quality, which in turn benefits the artists and creates more opportunities. 
[banner bold_title="Get an Advance" title="without losing creative control" cta_title="Get Funded Now" cta_url=""][/banner]

Are there any downsides to Tidal?

Just like with any other music streaming platform, there are advantages and disadvantages. Some of them can be avoided, but others are common among all digital services, so it’s important to carefully weigh the pros and cons and see if your career would benefit from adding this platform to your portfolio. 

  • Platform (in)stability - as is the case with any digital platform, Tidal is also subject to outages, server errors, bugs, and cybersecurity threats that affect all websites and online tools. This, unfortunately, is not under your control, and Tidal is always quick to fix any issues, but if it happens a lot, users might become frustrated. 
  • Subscription costs - while Tidal offers some unparalleled advantages, like high-quality lossless audio and higher royalty rates compared to other platforms, it also costs more. This might deter some subscribers from signing up to join the platform. 
  • Limited user base - while Tidal is one of the most popular streaming platforms out there, it’s not quite a match for Spotify or Apple Music, which feature a much larger user base. As they say, it might be a good idea to not have all of your eggs in one basket, and explore other platforms, as well. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How does Tidal work for artists?

For artists, Tidal functions primarily as a platform for distributing their music to listeners worldwide through streaming. Artists can upload their music to Tidal either independently or through record labels or distributors, gaining access to a global audience. Tidal pays artists royalties based on the number of streams their music receives, with payment rates varying depending on factors such as the user's subscription tier and the country where the stream occurs. Additionally, Tidal offers opportunities for artists to participate in exclusive content deals, direct partnerships, and promotional initiatives, providing avenues for increased exposure, revenue, and control over their music on the platform.

How much does Tidal pay per stream compared to Spotify? 

The exact amount that Tidal pays per stream compared to Spotify can vary based on several factors, including the user's subscription tier, the country where the stream occurs, and individual agreements between Tidal, Spotify, and rights holders. Generally, Tidal is known for paying slightly higher royalty rates than Spotify, especially for its HiFi subscription tier, which offers lossless audio quality. While the precise figures can fluctuate over time and may be subject to negotiation and contractual agreements, Tidal has often been touted as providing a better payout for artists per stream compared to Spotify, although the difference may not always be substantial.

Join Xposure Music and gain access to some of the best music industry professionals in the U.S. Top experts from Sony, Columbia, Def Jam, or Universal have already joined our platform, and they’re ready to give invaluable, on-point feedback on your work, which can help you land that dream record deal or publishing deal you’ve been working towards. Sign up now and reap the rewards.

If you’re looking to kickstart your music career but have limited resources, we can help you get funding for your next project while staying in control of your own work and career trajectory. You keep 100% ownership of your masters and get an advance ranging from $1,000 to $3 million to get your career off the ground. Get an estimate now and start turning your dream into reality.

No items found.


Gregory Walfish
Co-founder of Xposure Music, Gregory Walfish stands at the intersection of music, tech, and culture. With a software engineering background, he's passionate about artist development and technology.

Music Business

Xposure Blog Topics