In November 2021, when TIDAL launched its ‘Fan-centered royalties’ system, the music streaming company also launched an initiative called direct-to-artist payouts, aka DAP.
The DAP program sees a percentage of TIDAL’s HiFi Plus subscribers’ membership fees directed towards their top streamed artist. This direct-to-artist payment is made in addition to an artist’s streaming royalties.
At the time, then TIDAL COO Lior Tibon told MBW that “up to 10%” of the amount of the subscription fee would be paid to artists directly.
“In the US as an example, if you’re on an individual HiFi Plus [membership] and you’re paying 19.99 a month, $2 will go into that plan and basically flow directly into your top streamed artist for that particular calendar month,” he said.
According to an update from TIDAL, the streaming service has now decided to discontinue the DAP ‘experiment’ and those funds will now be redirected to its emerging artist program, TIDAL RISING.
Launched in 2015, artists that have previously participated in the TIDAL RISING program include Alessia Cara, 21 Savage, A Boogie wit da Hoodie, Mr Eazi, Chloe x Halle.
Confirming the update in a string of Tweets on Tuesday (February 28), TIDAL CEO Jesse Dorogusker said: “We’ve decided to end DAP and do something w[ith] higher impact”.
He revealed that the company enrolled 70,000 artists in Direct Artist Payouts and paid out $500,000 over the course of the experiment, which he says, was “far short of our goal”.
He added that, while the DAP program focused only on a listener’s No.1 artist, starting April, TIDAL will no longer commit a percentage of HiFi Plus membership fees to top-listened artists.
“We’ve decided to end DAP and do something w[ith] higher impact”.
Jesse Dorogusker, TIDAL
Said Dorogusker: “Changing course means we will put more funds (>10x what we distributed via DAP) into the TIDAL RISING program — backing and celebrating emerging artists through education, custom promotion, and future direct-funding, so they can build and grow their careers in music.
“You can expect to see more high-impact activations like our recent ‘TIDAL RISING x Atlanta’ where TIDAL provided four Georgia acts with documentaries, billboards, TV coverage, and an opportunity to play for and connect live with their biggest fans.”
In January, Universal Music Group announced an alliance with TIDAL that will see the two companies work together to explore what they call “an innovative new economic model for music streaming that might better reward the value provided by artists”.
TIDAL and UMG announced plans to research how, by “harnessing fan engagement”, music services and platforms can “generate greater commercial value for every type of artist”.
They added in their announcement that their research will extend to how different economic models “could accelerate subscriber growth, deepen retention, and better monetize fandom to the benefit of artists and the broader music community”.Music Business Worldwide