- Direct Artist Payouts and Royalties
What is the Direct Artist Payouts program?
We are introducing a direct-to-artist payment component: the Direct Artists Payout program. This experimental program aims to give artists access to another payment stream by allocating up to 10% of a HiFi Plus subscriber’s fees directly to that account’s top streamed artist. This will allow artists to benefit directly from the support of their fans on TIDAL.
How does the Direct Artists Payouts program work?
We strongly believe that it is critical to introduce new avenues for artists to make money, in order to ensure a sustainable future for them. With the Direct Artist Payouts program, we’re looking to provide supplemental support for artists, as a way to enable them to create and promote their music more effectively with the help of their fans.
The allocation will be directed to each Hifi Plus subscriber’s most-listened-to artist for the month. Following the end of every calendar month, we will look back at a subscriber’s most-listened-to artist, and allocate the direct payment to that artist. Qualified artists who enroll in the Direct Artist Payout program will be entitled to collect the payouts allocated to them on a monthly basis. In the future, we expect to introduce additional ways in which artists can receive allocations through the Direct Artists Payout program beyond just volume of listens in a calendar month.
We are currently collecting direct payment information from artists themselves, as well as teaming up with third party partners in order to quickly scale direct payments. In certain instances, we may not yet have accurate direct payment information for an artist, in which case we will hold the attributable funds for one year and may pay those out as soon as we gather the relevant data.
The direct-to-artist payments will be allocated towards recording artists of sound recordings. In the future our hope is to launch a similar program for songwriters.
How Does TIDAL Define an “Artist” for this program?
We allocate direct-to-artist payments to primary recording artists that are listed on a track. “Featured” artists do not accrue streams for purposes of the Direct Artist Payout program.
Can Any Artist Register with TIDAL to Benefit from Direct Artist Payouts?
There are two ways for artists to ensure they can participate in the program:
Option 1 - Direct Registration: We are working on expanding our direct registration capabilities, in coordination with Square, Cash App and PayPal as payment partners. This is currently done on an invite-only basis and we are looking to expand this in the coming months.
Option 2 - Partner Registration: We partnered with various distribution partners as launch partners for the program - all artists who are using one of these partners can begin to benefit from the program once they accept our standard terms and conditions.
If you are an artist with music available on TIDAL, please submit this form so we can look into enabling direct registration, or alternatively please reach out to one of our launch partners (CD Baby, DistroKid, STEM, Symphonic and TuneCore) so you can register via one of them.
What Do I Gain by Registering with TIDAL?
You will be able to participate in our Direct Artist Payouts program and collect payouts allocated from the number of subscribers on our HiFi Plus tier for whom you are the most streamed artist.
To date, TIDAL has partnered with CD Baby, DistroKid, STEM, Symphonic and TuneCore to facilitate payments to artists. We will soon be adding Equity Distribution and Vydia as options as well.
What If My Music Distributor Is Not an Available Partner?
Please submit this form so we can look into enabling direct registration with us or connect with one of our distribution partners to help.
Who Do I Contact If I Have Questions During the Registration Process?
If you are working with one of our launch distribution partners (CD Baby, DistroKid, STEM, Symphonic and TuneCore) please contact them to help with any questions.
If you are registering with TIDAL directly (currently available on invitation only basis), please submit this form.
How are streams allocated for tracks that have more than one primary recording artist?
Tracks with more than one primary recording artist will have each stream split among each primary recording artist. For example, if an account streams a track with 3 primary recording artists, ⅓ of that stream will be allocated to each primary recording artist. Streams are not allocated to “featured” artists.
What Payment Options are Available?
If you are registering directly with TIDAL (currently available on invitation only basis), we work with Square, Cash App and PayPal as available payment options (depending on your location). Additional details will be provided during your registration process.
If you are signed up for the program through one of our distribution partners, the distribution partner will be responsible for making payments to you related to this program.
To upgrade your personal Cash App account to a Cash for Business account, please follow these steps:
- Tap the profile icon in the top-right of your homescreen
- Tap Personal, then Change Account Type at the bottom
- Follow the prompts to complete the upgrade
After completing the upgrade, you can accept payments from your customers at any time. Cash Terms and fees apply.
Please note that the next time you accept a payment through your Cash for Business account, you’ll be asked to provide your full name, date of birth, and the last 4 of your SSN. This information is required to verify your account.
- Go to Settings.
- Click Upgrade to a Business account.
- Enter your business information and click Agree and Continue.
Is There a Minimum Amount I Must Accumulate Before Being Able to Collect a Payout?
Our minimum threshold for payment is $50. If the amount attributable to you is less than $50 in a given month, we will add it to the subsequent month (and the months after, if applicable), until the accumulated amount is higher than $50, in which case we will pay it out.
When Can I Expect My Funds?
If you are registering with TIDAL directly (currently available on invitation only basis) and meet the minimum threshold for payment of $50, we will pay out funds to your selected payment method within approximately 7 business days after month end.
If you are signed up for this program with one of our distributor partners (CD Baby, DistroKid, STEM, Symphonic and TuneCore), and meet the minimum threshold for payment of $50, we will pay them the associated funds within 7 business days after month end, and they will pay those out to you in line with their business practices. Please connect with the distributor you are signed up with for this program for more information.
How Will I Know How Much I Have Accumulated In Any Given Month?
We are not currently able to provide visibility into the monthly amount if it’s less than $50. We are working hard on additional capabilities to provide greater transparency into accumulations below the threshold and will make further announcements soon.
I Just Signed Up, Can I Claim Money Allocated to Me For Previous Months?
Unfortunately, we can't send payouts until your account is enrolled and verified. Once enrollment is confirmed, you may collect amounts allocated to you in the twelve months preceding your registration, provided the total amount allocated to you is equal to $50 or more.
What Happens If My Funds Do Not Go Into My Account?
If you are signed up for the program with one of our distributor partners (CD Baby, DistroKid, STEM, Symphonic and TuneCore), please contact them directly if you believe there is an error.
What If My Account was Hacked?
If you are working with TIDAL directly, we will pay the funds directly into your Square, CashApp or PayPal designated account.
If you are signed up for the program with one of our distributor partners (CD Baby, DistroKid, STEM, Symphonic and TuneCore), please reach out to them directly for any account and payment issues.
How Are Funds Distributed If I am In a Group / Band?
If you are working with TIDAL directly, we will pay the funds into one account designated by you, and it is yours to then split payments as appropriate.
If you are signed up for the program with one of our distributor partners (CD Baby, DistroKid, STEM, Symphonic and TuneCore), the funds will be paid into your account, in the same manner as other payments are being made.
How Do I Terminate My Enrollment in Direct Artist Payouts?
If you are working with one of our launch distribution partners (CD Baby, DistroKid, STEM, Symphonic and TuneCore), please contact them to help determine eligibility.
If you registered directly with TIDAL, please submit this form and we’ll help.
Do I have to Pay Taxes on Any Money that I Receive?
TIDAL is not able to provide you with tax advice. You should consult with your tax advisor.
If I Am Not Based in the U.S., Will I Have to Pay US Taxes since TIDAL is a US Based Company?
TIDAL is not able to provide you with tax advice. You should consult with your tax advisor.
Why do Music Royalties matter?
Royalties are amounts we pay every month to compensate copyright owners of the songs which are being played on our platform. Royalty payments are divided into two primary groups: master royalties - for owners of the sound recording; and publishing royalties - for owners of the composition of the song (including the melody, lyrics and music).
How Are Royalties Currently Being Calculated?
Currently, all major streaming services calculate royalties for sound recordings in a similar manner. An overall royalty “pool” is determined every calendar month by streaming providers, the size of which is based upon the total subscription fees received from subscribers for that month. Then, the total number of streams are aggregated across subscribers each month on a country and plan basis, and then split by artist.
Streaming services then pay record labels and distributors these monthly royalties based on their respective artists, and provide detailed information so they can divide and allocate the monies appropriately. From there, artists receive a portion of the overall royalty “pool”, based on the aggregate listening patterns for the month and other parties who contractually are set up to receive a portion of the funds.
One result of this system is that the fans who stream less than average in a particular month wind up paying less money to the artists they love and instead see some of their subscription fees going to artists they never listened to at all.
The formula for music composition royalties is tangibly similar, but varies significantly in terms of execution and logistics in each territory based on local rules and regulations and market practice.
How Much Royalties Are Paid by TIDAL?
We pay the majority of our revenue out as royalties. Based on publicly available information, we estimate that our HiFi Plus per stream rates are significantly higher than the prevalent rates by the major streaming providers.
How Are Artists Compensated by TIDAL Today?
Much like other major streaming services, TIDAL has not historically contracted with artists or songwriters directly. Rather, we have had agreements with record labels and distributors (for sound recordings) and with music publishers and collection societies (for music publishing). Those parties established their own payment arrangements with artists to determine how royalty monies from streaming platforms such as TIDAL should be divided between themselves and the artists.
In many instances, artists do not fully own the sound recording or the music composition themselves, so they only receive a share of the royalties we pay. Since we are not privy to the arrangements between artists and the various intermediaries, we do not know exactly how much money is given directly to artists as a result of us paying royalties.
Will Direct Artist Payouts Affect Royalties?
No. The two are not connected and one does not impact the other.