— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) April 23, 2015
After a star-studded press conference (many criticized it for being downright ridiculous and lacking in information) and a skyrocketing stock price, it looks like the streaming service Tidal, led by Jay Z and a few of his wealthy A-list friends, might be a big ‘ol fail.
The app has fallen out of the top 700 downloads for iTunes. In the words of Jezebel, “A dang QR code reader is currently #96 and Tidal can’t even break the top 700!”
(Total aside: What’s up with QR codes? Remember those three weeks a few years ago when everything had a QR code for some reason? Is that over?)
As the launch was happening, it seems most people knew this endeavor was going nowhere fast. The pitch sounded a lot like this to music fans: “Look at all of your famous, favorite artists. Remember when you paid $200 for nosebleed seats to see them a few weeks ago. Well you won’t believe it, but they’re not getting a ton of cash when you stream their songs at work too. So give them $10 per month ($20 for premium stuff) because all the money should be in their pockets.”
People didn’t stop liking them. But they didn’t start liking to pay for music because Jay Z, Beyonce, Rihanna, Daft Punk and a bunch of other folks asked them to either. On that same list of top iTunes downloads, Pandora is number 7 and Spotify is number 23.
Moreover, a good chunk of the sales pitch highlighted the fact that the competition wasn’t kicking up more money to the artists. According to BGR, that may have been a fatal flaw in the marketing.
“It looks like Tidal’s attacks on Spotify and Pandora actually managed to increase public awareness of the services, boosting Spotify’s download performance in particular at the end of March,” the site says. “And now, a few weeks later, the combined revenue performance of the two music apps is hitting a new milestone. To add insult to injury, Beats Music has started cracking U.S. iPhone top 20 revenue chart.”
Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen a number of songs and music videos debut on Tidal, which you can only access if you’re a member. But eventually, you can see them on YouTube or listen to the tune in other places. Rihanna’s American Oxygen is an example of that. There’s speculation that a Jay Z/Beyonce collaboration will be released on Tidal as well. But if the numbers for Tidal stay where they are, we can’t imagine that this too won’t be sold far and wide.
Ultimately, all of these stars will be fine. In this case, they overplayed their hand. And clearly, they didn’t look at their service from the point of view of the user, which is always a mistake. But as for Tidal, the jury is still out.