Some of the world's biggest names in music including Beyonce, Cold Play's Chris Martin and Rihanna are backing Jay Z's new global streaming music service Tidal, which launched on Monday, and is billing itself as the first of its kind owned by artists.
Co-owners Kanye West, Daft Punk, Alicia Keys, Madonna and other musicians were in New York Monday to sign a declaration of a "whole new era.''
Still, Tidal is entering a crowded space, with stiff competition from Spotify, Pandora Media Inc and Clear Channel's iHeartRadio. But Jay Z's deep music ties could help distinguish Tidal from its rivals.
Musicians complain they are not being properly compensated for digital music rights. Additionally, music downloads have been shrinking as streaming services boom in popularity.
Last year, Taylor Swift pulled her entire catalog from Spotify in a shocking move. Swift's catalog is available on Tidal but her latest 1989 is not.
Tidal has deals for rights with all the major record labels, a representative with the company said.
While the glitzy line-up on Monday did not directly address compensation,
Alicia Keys said, "We want to create a better service and a better experience for both fans and artists. That is our promise to the world. Our mission goes beyond commerce, it goes beyond technology. Our intent is to preserve music's importance in our lives. Music is the language of love and laughter of heartbreak of mystery.''
Tidal is offering a mix of stock and cash to its owners for promotional support, which does not include rights to the music, the Financial Times reported. One partner was offered $3 million for a 3 percent stake, the report said.
Tidal is an offspring of Jay Z's company Project Panther Bidco, which acquired more than 90 percent of the Swedish streaming music company Aspiro AB for $54 million earlier this month.
For $19.99 a month, subscribers have access to millions of songs and videos in high fidelity. A $9.99 option offers regular sound quality. Tidal is available in 35 countries and subscribers can listen offline to as many songs as their device will hold.