Exclusion from the iOS download charts, lukewarm support from within the ranks, and backlash from fellows musicians might spell doom for Tidal.
Jay-Z’s music streaming service, Tidal, was touted to be Spotify’s biggest rival and offers a pretty sound subscription rate for its superior audio quality. But according to i-D, Tidal could have fallen into the doldrums before it even made an impact on its consumers.
The app has dropped out of the top 700 iOS download charts, and it seems that Kanye West, an initial strong supporter of Tidal, might be blowing hot and cold. The singer deleted his previous tweets that had any mention of Tidal, but made a turnaround yesterday and posted the following:
— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) April 23, 2015
Musicians themselves have also spoke out against Tidal, claiming that it’s not what’s best for the music industry. “I think they totally blew it by bringing out a bunch of millionaires and billionaires and propping them up onstage and then having them all complain about not being paid,” Death Cab for Cutie singer Ben Gibbard said in a recent interview with The Daily Beast. “That’s why this thing is going to fail miserably.”
“If I had been Jay Z, I would have brought out ten artists that were underground or independent and said, ‘These are the people who are struggling to make a living in today’s music industry. Whereas this competitor streaming site pays this person 15 cents for X amount of streams, that same amount of streams on my site, on Tidal, will pay that artist this much,’” he added.
Other celebrities like Lily Allen have weighed in on the situation, even predicting that Tidal could lead to an increase in music piracy.
But Jay-Z might have one last trick up his sleeve to save the US$56 million he paid for Tidal, and that’s the possibility of a joint album between him and his wife, Beyoncé. Should the album be released exclusively on Tidal, it could reign in the fans and money needed to keep Tidal afloat. But until Tidal finds a method to bringing in steady subscribers, the Jay-Z x Beyoncé album sounds like a stop-gap measure at best.