It’s still early, but Tidal’s prognosis isn’t a good one
Just a month ago, Jay Z was joined on stage by some of the biggest names in music, including Beyonce, Nicki Minaj, Kanye West, Daft Punk, Madonna and Rihanna, as he re-launched TIDAL, the Swedish music streaming platform he acquired for $56 million during the final days of January. It was an over-the-top presentation of his plans for what Alicia Keys–who delivered a brief introductory speech–called the first “artist-owned global music and entertainment platform,” and was expected to endear consumers to their noble mission, which, ultimately, is to put the power back into the hands of artists, and offer them a more adequate share of the revenue generated by the millions of streams their songs garner a month than competitive services like Pandora, Spotify and Beats Music currently offer.
Initially, the idea of artists “taking back” the music industry appeared to be a promising selling point, especially considering some of the startling revenue-share reports that have surfaced concerning some of music’s biggest superstars. Towards the end of 2014, Business Insider published a report detailing how much Pharrell Williams made off streams of his Grammy Award-winning #1 hit, “Happy,” which was streamed over 43 million times on Pandora. Roughly $2,700. That translates to such a minute average of revenue per song, you’d need over 4 decimal points to calculate it.
However, the idea of Pharrell–who made $22 million last year according to Forbes–properly profiting from “Happy” and his other musical ventures–the rich getting richer, in other words–isn’t enough to drive the general population to their app stores to sign up for Tidal. (Ironically, Skateboard P has been rumored to be involved with the forthcoming re-launch of Beats Music. Many referred to his absence at TIDAL’s re-launch as “glaring.) The app has fallen out of the Apple App Store’s Top 750, despite offering exclusive content from everyone from Jay Z and Rihanna, and a private J. Cole concert exclusively for Tidal subscribers. That being said, there are undoubtedly several other changes and developments internally that the public has yet to see, and the company’s recent change at the CEO position will surely come with innovations and amendments to the streaming service’s current operations, but they’ll have to produce quickly.
First impressions are everything, after all.