It has been a year since rap superstar and business mogul Jay-Z acquired the little known Swedish streaming service Tidal. In an over the top press conference, Jay and other top flight artists, including: Beyonce, Madonna, Kanye, Rihanna, Alicia Keys, Daft Punk and many others signed on to become co-owners in this venture; in an attempt to give control (read:money) back to the artists.
Well, it has been a year. How is Tidal actually doing? More specifically, in comparison to the other streaming music services like Spotify and Apple Music. The answer is, better than expected. Tidal does not come close to boasting the subscriber numbers of Spotify and Apple (30 million and 11 million respectively). But, in the year since the artist takeover, paid subscriptions have passed the 3 million mark.
Tidal may never achieve the sheer volume of subscribers of Spotify or Apple but it has something the other two services have little to none of. Exclusive content. Prince, Beyonce, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna and Kanye have all released Tidal exclusive content in the past year. Kanye’s latest album The Life of Pablo was streamed 250 million times in its first 10 days of release according to Tidal.
If Tidal is able to corner the exclusive content model, it will soon acquire more than enough paid subscriptions to be a profitable business model. My free trial is about to run out and I’m seriously considering switching to Tidal.