Music Industry

It’s Official: Tidal is a Flop

From the get-go, Jay Z’s Tidal streaming service was in trouble. Their “respect the music”  message translated to the general public as “make us richer.” The public refused to buy in so everything was DOA. And now it’s official.

One report says that Tidal has just 17,000 subscribers. Compare that to the 15 million plus on Spotify and the millions on Rdio. Even personal thank-you phone calls to subscribers by signatories such as Jack White haven’t worked. Press coverage is uniformly bad. The CEO and a dozen other people have already been fired.

The Boy Genius Report tells of how badly things have crashed and burned in such a short period of time.

Two weeks after Tidal briefly cracked the U.S. iPhone top 20 download chart, the app has crashed out of the top 700. Apparently American consumers have limited empathy towards Beyonce and Nicki. Soon after the launch fiasco, Tidal’s CEO was kicked outin a “streamlining” move.  The new CEO Peter Tonstad, a former consultant for the Norwegian Ministry of Environment, has his work cut out for him.

To make matters worse for Tidal, its main rivals are now surging. On April 20th, Pandora and Spotify occupied positions No. 3 and No. 4 on the U.S. iPhone revenue chart, respectively. This was the first time two music streaming services have hit the top 4 in sales simultaneously. In order to achieve the feat, Pandora and Spotify had to push Candy Crush Saga out of U.S. iPhone top 4 revenue chart, which is a remarkable achievement.

As a matter of fact, something curious can be seen in Spotify’s download performance right after Tidal media campaign started bashing its allegedly meager payouts. Spotify surged back into the iPad top 40 download chart on March 31st, right when Tidal’s anti-Spotify invective hit its peak in American media. This had not happened since November 2014.

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. 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.

It’s dead. Done.  Bury it.  Tidal was killed by the arrogance of its followers.  The full story here.


Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 37893 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

2 thoughts on “It’s Official: Tidal is a Flop

  • That’s really strange. I love the service. The app is incredible and the ability to store music offline is fantastic. Sound quality is great…although you really have to take their word for it that it’s proper 24/96. The price point is the problem. $20/month is too much.

    • Rdio stores music offline for half the price. Spotify presumably too.


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