Is Jay Z's Tidal a sinking ship even with Eminem and Calvin Harris on board?
Jay Z's Midas touch does not seem to translate to his online streaming services.
Jay Z's is arguably one of the biggest music producers of our time. He has backed all the right artists and the right projects at the right time. However, he seems to have failed big time with Tidal.
The music mogul had relaunched Tidal in the presence of celebrities including wife Beyonce, then-BFF Kanye West, Alicia Keys, Madonna, Chris Martin and Nicki Minaj, in March of 2015 as the high-fidelity streaming service. However, if the statistics procured by Norway's Dagens Næringsliv are to be believed, Jay Z's Midas touch does not seem to have worked on Tidal.
DN has reported that Tidal lost roughly NOK$368 million ($44 million dollars) before taxes in 2016, which has left them with just enough cash to last another six months. Sprint corporation reportedly bought 33 percent stake in the music streaming service company in January.
However, even the $200 million deal, which also included $75 million funds for exclusive content, could not save the sinking ship. The deal was supposed to give Tidal "sufficient working capital for the next 12-18 months," Roc Nation Sports president and Jay Z's business partner Juan Perez said.
Despite these stories, Tidal spokesperson has claimed that they are expecting to break even by mid-2018. "We have experienced negative stories about Tidal since its inception and we have done nothing but grow the business each year," USA Today quotes a statement he sent to them.
It remains to be seen who among the two is speaking the truth. Because, back in September 2015, Jay Z had claimed that Tidal had about 1 million subscribers, but DN had reported a few days ahead of Sprint's investment that the number – based on internal payments to record labels – is closer to 350,000. Again, in early 2017, Jay Z claimed that the number of subscribers has risen to 3 million. The internally circulated figure, however, was 1,2 million subscribers.
Meanwhile, Engadget points out that even if the numbers Jay Z tweeted were genuine, they would still be lagging behind rivals Spotify and Apple Music. Spotify reportedly had over 60 million subscribers as of July 2017, while Apply Music had 30 million as of September.
Back in September of 2016 it was reported that Aspiro, the Swedish-based holding company that controls Tidal, was not doing so great financially. The Wall Street Journal had found that Aspiro had a loss of about $28 million in 2015, which was approximately triple the loss recorded in 2014.
As fans may remember, in March of 2015 - just a month after the relaunch party of Tidal - Jay-Z had filed a lawsuit against Aspiro. "It became clear after taking control of Tidal and conducting our own audit that the total number of subscribers was actually well below the 540,000 reported to us by the previous owners," the music producer related at the time.
It remains to be seen if Aspiro's reputation trickled down onto Tidal as well. However, Jay Z continues to be one of the biggest music producers and rappers of the generation and every time one of his albums or songs come out, Tidal sees a boost in its business.
When Jay-Z's 4:44 was released in July this year, Tidal saw a significant bump in business. Tidal reportedly jumped to No. 1 in Apple's App Store and to No. 12 from No. 432 in the Google Play store during the weekend of the album's release.
At the time, the company was even facing some bad rep after new Tidal subscribers found out that they would not hear the album unless they were already subscribed to the app or were customers of Sprint. This meant clients who were on 30-day trial were unable to listen to the album, which the company soon rectified. However, this did not seem to cause any real monetary problems for Tidal at the time.
Back in March 2016, Kanye West's The Life of Pablo also brought in quite a hike in business. In the first 10 days since the release of the album, the service saw a global subscription boost that took the total subscription to over three million.
So all Tidal really needs to do to stay afloat is get Kanye and Jay Z to reconcile and work together on an album.
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