Free, the word that’s choking the music industry to death. With a plethora of free streaming available online – Spotify being today’s biggest name – artists are struggling to get compensated by the hard work they‘re putting into their music. But a current move by one of the industry’s biggest name might just be what these artists need to get their cut out of the music they’re creating.

Tidal to make a splash

To start, what is Tidal? Tidal is an artist-owned music streaming service and the first of its kind. Jay-Z spearheaded the whole thing which started from the hip-hop artist purchasing Aspiro, a Swedish company.

Unlike, Spotify, however, it isn’t free. While Spotify is ad-supported and compensate artists by how much traffic a track or album is generating, Tidal offers two services. First is the Tidal Premium which costs $9.99 a month offering standard sound quality, HD music vids, and curated editorial content. Second is the Tidal HiFi for $19.99 which includes higher sound quality and other extra stuff for those opting for it.

There are numerous big names that are shareholders of Tidal. Coldplay, Rihanna, Beyonce, deadmau5, Daft Punk, Arcade Fire, Kanye West, and Madonna are just some of them.

As the streaming site is directly owned by these artists, they have effectively cut the middle man and thus will take in more profit from their music. The next big move is convincing people to actually pay for Tidal’s services. No easy feat given that there are a lot of free services available out there.

People paying for something free

The fact that Tidal is artist-owned is possibly one of the reasons that Jay-Z and other shareholders might entice people to spend cash on the music streaming site. It may be difficult to believe, but people are willing to pay for music if it means it’ll support their favorite artist.

But why would people pay for something that’s free? Water is already free and yet people are still paying for it, Jay-Z said in his interview with Billboard. And the guy is absolutely right.

Another tact that these artists might take is pulling their music off of Spotify, similar to what Taylor Swift did recently. By making their music available only in Tidal, it might force people to actually head over the site and pay for its services.

And both Tidal Premium and Tidal HiFi are free for the first month allowing music fans to experience it before finally deciding to spend money on it.

It’s still early to determine whether or not Tidal will make a huge impact on the industry or will be buried underneath the weight of Spotify and other free streaming sites like Youtube.

But artists will continue their fight to be rightfully compensated for what they’re creating. To quote Taylor Swift in this regard, “Music is art, and art is important and rare. Important, rare things are valuable. Valuable things should be paid for. It’s my opinion that music should not be free.”