Tidal hits the rocks while Pandora and Spotify surge in the US market
Jay-Z pulled all the tricks in the book to announce his entry into the streaming market, but it’s going to take more than some A-list names and a fresh-faced CEO to save the Tidal wave from crashing down upon itself. Pitched as a streaming service with fair revenue for artists in mind, yet landing as a PR nest for the already established and earning top tier of stars, the numbers behind Peter Tonstad’s recently inherited streaming mission say that only the platform’s closest competitors are profiting from the ill-executed media attention thus far.
Though Tidal is now outside of Apple’s top 700 mobile downloads, long serving competitors Pandora and Spotify can be found in peak position at 3rd and 4th place respectively, knocking the popular mobile game Candy Crush Saga along the way. Coming in with a so-called second wind announcement that would put independent artists back in the picture for Tidal’s longterm plan, the botched PR and somewhat unrealistic expectation of premium streaming at a premium price in the a US market has left the two already established market a lot of space to breathe. Tidal had just 17,000 paid subscriptions to report surrounding its recent launch, compared to Pandora’s 81.5m and Spotify’s 60m active user base.
With Tidal’s ambition in mind, there are still questions and concerns yet to be addressed, including the reality of artists ownership against core shareholder’s investment, the reality of high quality streaming amid the budding streaming revolution and, most vitally, at what point a team of music superstars appeared to be a viable choice for framing the state of the digital music and the ongoing debates surrounding streaming royalties. With Beats Music creeping up the downloads charts ahead of its full unveil, this looks like a failure to launch that not all the celebrity cameos, exclusivity claims and cold calls from Jay-Z in the world could fix.