Kanye May Have Single-Handedly Doubled Tidal’s Subscribers…

Tidal... It's Growing!
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The music streaming industry has been dominated by Spotify and Apple Music for years. However, Tidal, the high-quality music streaming platform owned by Jay Z, saw a sudden surge in its number of subscribers after Kanye West released his album, ‘The Life of Pablo,’ exclusively on the platform. The album was a hit, and as a result, the number of Tidal subscribers more than doubled from around 1 million to 2.5 million.

It was a significant leap for Tidal, which had been struggling to find its footing in the highly competitive music streaming market. Though it still lags behind Spotify and Apple Music, the growth spurt solidly moves Tidal from fringe to threat. Kanye’s move to release his album exclusively via Tidal has undoubtedly had a positive impact on the service, though it remains unclear if Kanye himself has benefited from the deal.

Exclusives can be very limiting for artists, and Kanye’s decision to release the album only on Tidal may have hurt his chart position. Tidal refused to release data to tracking authority Nielsen Music, which meant that ‘The Life of Pablo’ didn’t even make the charts. Moreover, the album has been illegally downloaded more than half a million times, according to an estimate by Torrent Freak, thanks partly to the unavailability of Spotify and Apple.

It’s unclear if Kanye received upfront cash consideration for the exclusive, but depending on that amount, he may have done Jay Z a massive favor. However, the real question is, how many trial subscribers are going to stick around after the 30-day free trial ends? Tidal now has the opportunity to convert users with high-quality audio or other exclusives, video content, and the value of being on an “artist-endorsed” platform.

Jay Z purchased Tidal in 2015 for $56 million and has been trying to turn it into a profitable business ever since. The platform offers high-quality audio and exclusive content from artists like Beyoncé, Rihanna, and Jay Z himself. However, despite its star-studded lineup, Tidal has struggled to keep up with its rivals. The service has undergone several management changes, including the departure of two CEOs and a significant employee turnover.

The surge in Tidal’s subscribers after the release of ‘The Life of Pablo’ was a much-needed boost for the struggling platform. It proves that exclusive content can still be a powerful draw for music fans, and Tidal can compete with the likes of Spotify and Apple Music if it continues to offer unique content from high-profile artists.

In conclusion, Kanye’s decision to release his album exclusively on Tidal had a significant impact on the platform. While Tidal still has a long way to go to catch up with its rivals, the recent surge in subscribers is a positive sign for the platform. It remains to be seen whether Tidal can convert these trial subscribers into paying customers, but the platform has a unique opportunity to do so. Tidal can now build on the momentum created by ‘The Life of Pablo’ and offer more exclusive content to attract music fans worldwide.

Image from Pixabay, licensed under Creative Commons.

13 Responses

  1. a_troll

    “Tidal may win them over with their high quality audio, or users may divert back to competing services like Spotify and Apple.”

    LOL yeah, the kids with their $15 earbuds are going to pay $20/month for something that (to them) sounds like their existing $10/month service.

  2. FarePlay

    At least Tidal is showing some originality in their service offerings.

    Just think where Apple Music could be if they decided to invest $500m a year into producing original content that they made exclusive to Apple Music and iTunes.

    One big reason music is dying is from a lack of marketing of any kind; outside social media. Why isn’t there a record store day type promo for Christmas and Valentines Day? Dead flowers or music that’ll be around for a long time.

    Think about it? CocaCola. The most known brand in the world, advertises constantly, why not a forgotten brand like Music?

    • asdf

      Exclusivity with a major artist album isn’t “originality” in and of itself. It’s a big “f-you” to everybody else who uses a variety of other, cheaper, better competitor services.

      Lack of marketing in music? You’re nuts. Your big ideas are Christmas and Valentines Day promotions?

      I will never listen to TLOP. Only Kanye super-fans will opt into Tidal to listen to it (or pirate it, which most fans have already done). The exclusivity model will not work for lesser-known or upcoming artists.

      • FarePlay

        Well then f-you too. Do you pay for music or just support the establishment?

      • DaChyke43

        You realize it’s $9.99 for their standard service aka the same cost as Spotify and Apple Music? And I’m tired of people acting like those companies aren’t run by selfish billionaires squeezing profits out of consumers for less value while on the other side giving a big middle finger to the artists who spend their lives trying to give us good music. Any other wonder why Prince sent his entire catalog to ONLY Tidal? It’s because the cost of creating good art isn’t being appreciated and Tidal is the only company that seems to recognize it. People buy 6 dollar waters, but can’t afford 10 bucks for ALL the music they’ll ever need? Gtfoh

  3. FarePlay

    You do realize that Spotify and the like are the new establishment screwing artists.

  4. DUDE

    Impressive growth, for sure. There’s just one x-factor: TIDAL’s 30 Day trial.

    Let me know when you convert those subscribers…

    Now that the album’s readily available via torrents, what’s the stop people from canceling their subscription after 30 days and just downloading it illegally?

    Exclusivity is fine, but it encourages pirating. Now, if Kanye West begins to utilize TIDAL as a means for releasing exclusive content regularly (e.g. GOOD Friday / uploading new songs every Friday), at least you have a strategy for retaining subscribers.

    Content + Convenience = King

    • FarePlay

      It’s no lie that piracy and legalized free streaming have rendered music almost valueless in today’s world. Whether it’s a failure in marketing or simply easier to get tens of millions of free subscribers for a shot at an IPO, it appears listeners aren’t really interested in paying for streaming music.

      While we will never eradicate piracy entirely, we can contain it by taking down the big dogs. Having laws that actually make it a crime to operate large scale websites whose sole purpose is to monetize infringing content needs to happen. Laws that work would be a start. http://voxindie.org/will-safe-harbor-finally-get-fixed/

      • DaChyke43

        Thank you FarePlay, some people just don’t understand. Once the major illegal sites are taken down and people start getting charged, they’ll see that Tidal is ahead of the game. Also, it makes me mad when people keep saying only Jay Z is profiting. There are a ton of artists with a 3% stake in the company, Jay is just the one who actually put over 50 million of his own dollars in the company to make it a viable competitor. People want to get mad at him while he’s the one trying to make listening to music a better experience for those who care about the way it actually sounds, and he’s trying to make it more profitable for the actual artists. If you notice, even Taylor Swift put some of her music on there after she pulled ALL of it from Spotify.

    • DaChyke43

      There are music videos, concerts, and all kinds of other exclusive content you only see once you subscribe. Maybe if people did a little research instead of just being mindless Spotify diehards for no reason you’d see that Spotify is the one that’s really screwing the artists AND the consumers on content.

  5. asdf


    “Well then f-you too. Do you pay for music or just support the establishment?”

    Huh? I’m not into music to make petulant statements or stick it to “the establishment.” Since you asked, yes, I do pay for music. I pay retail price for full albums, multiple times per month and have been doing so for decades in a variety of format. I’m the best kind of consumer Kanye should be catering to – and he’s lost me, big time. Not touching Tidal.

    • DaChyke43

      So you don’t pay for streaming services, but you pay full price for albums anyway? Why are you hating on Kanye then, you can still walk to Target and buy the album so what are you complaining about? Also, if you buy more than one album a month you’re losing money on music so why would anyone take your opinion seriously? Kanye is better at math than you.