Though Jay Z is reported to be worth a cool $610 million in 2016, his popular crowd streaming service Tidal isn’t faring nearly as well.
As originally reported by Norwegian newspaper Dagens Næringsliv, Tidal incurred losses of $28 million in 2015, and the service has received nearly 100 payment defaults in the past 17 months, to the tune of $438,000.
The streaming service’s net loss was dramatically less in 2014 - only $10.44 million - which was prior to Hov's purchase of Tidal's parent group, Norwegian/Swedish company Aspiro. Since Jay Z shelled out $56 million in March of 2015, the company has been wrought by bad press and strengthening competitors, and reports of a more than doubled net loss won't be doing any favors to an already dampened public perception.
While those numbers were from 2015, and Tidal has had two huge, exclusive drops this year in The Life of Pablo and Lemonade, it’s difficult to believe that Kanye and Beyoncé’s releases were enough to improve the company’s trajectory. Put simply: the Jay Z-backed streaming service has failed to put any fear into Apple Music or Spotify, even with early summer rumors that Apple Music was looking to acquire Tidal.
Like Apple Music, Tidal has pegged much of its success on exclusivity. Among their bigger releases are Usher’s first album in four years, Hard II Love, which he released today (to a stunning lack of social chatter), and Rihanna’s hit single “Bitch Better Have My Money” and ANTI album, along with Ye and Bey's albums.
Despite artists like Frank Ocean and Travis Scott continuing the exclusivity trend for high-profile releases on Apple Music, others have been critical of the practice and its exclusion of dedicated fans. 300 Entertainment co-founder Lyor Cohen recently spoke out against exclusives, and superstar producer Metro Boomin tweeted a few weeks back, “Apple Music, tidal, Spotify, Pandora, whatever you use, my album will be instantly available and accessible for you. Because that's the point.”
Exclusives seem to be the biggest incentive to bring in new users for Tidal, yet even with a number of high-profile releases over the last year, doubts about the company's future remain prevalent. With further reports that the company's financial standing is in decline, it begs the question: where does Tidal go from here?
Editor's Note: By comparison, Spotify recorded losses of nearly $200 million (via DigitalMusicNews) in 2015, though their total reported revenue for the year ($2.12 billion) is sizably larger than Tidal's ($47 million) (via WSJ).