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Tidal Discovery will allow independent artists to upload directly

Billy Steele
April 22, 2015
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While Tidal didn't have too much to say about independent artists during its relaunch a couple weeks ago, the company is lending a hand now. In an interview with Smashd, Tidal's Chief Information Officer Vania Schlogel discussed the upcoming Discovery feature for the service -- the ability for indie acts to upload music directly. Why is this a big deal? Well, for the likes of Spotify, those musicians have to go through a third-party service like CD Baby or TuneCore to get their music in the apps. Since record labels typically handle licensing deals with subscription services, if you're unsigned, you have to find another middleman. What's more, all artists will have access to Tidal's dashboard, where they can see exactly who's listening to their music and get contact info for each person. That's how Jay Z and Jack White were able to offer those thank-you calls last week.

"When it comes to the distribution of music, I want to get to a point where there are no blockades for artists in order to be able to easily do that for themselves," Schlogel explained. "The end game being that we want everyone to be able to self-upload their own music and then track it very intuitively through this artist dashboard."

"We want everyone to be able to self-upload their own music ."

The Discovery feature is rolling out slowly, being made available for more folks over time. Exactly how will this impact those indie artists? I spoke to Nick Wiley of Kindler, an unsigned progressive rock band in North Carolina, to find out. Wiley says that having to go through a service like CD Baby isn't so much of an issue as the tools Spotify offers signed artists. "I don't really care about having to go through an aggregator," he says. "I care about not having a bio and the other stuff because when you visit our profile on Spotify, I think it screams. 'This artist isn't famous.'" It appears that Tidal will offer the same tools and stats directly to all artists, though -- not just the famous ones.

Another feature that's aimed at helping independent artists is Tidal Rising. That collection of unknown acts highlights new music on the regular, serving as a discovery tool for subscribers and another channel for the smaller acts to get some promotion. Tidal Rising is already live on both mobile and desktop apps.

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