Although not exactly a heavy-hitter on the level of Spotify or Apple Music, Tidal has done a good job of staying in the streaming spotlight. With the conclusion of 2016, the service has released some interesting numbers, but also left some key ones out.
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Out of all the music streaming networks, Tidal seems to get more than its fair share of publicity. No doubt that’s because it’s owned by a music celebrity (Jay-Z), but for a relatively small player in the streaming game, Tidal manages to punch above its weight. The company recently released some interesting numbers that covered everything except what matters most, and that’s paid subscribers.
For instance, the company says it has produced 39 live streams of concerts and festivals, given away over 180,000 tickets to subscribers for more than 100 events, hosted more than 45 music videos and 90 behind-the-scenes videos, and offered more than 150 playlists created by artists, athletes and celebrities throughout the year.
It also reported 32 exclusive albums released on the platform in 2016, including releases of Rihanna’s Anti, Kanye West’s The Life of Pablo and Beyoncé’s Lemonade. It made a big deal out of the fact that it was the only place to stream 15 Prince albums, only to discover down the road that, according to the Prince estate, it had no right to do so.
These are all nice numbers, but there’s no mention of the number of subscribers. It’s been estimated that Tidal has around 3 million paid subscribers, which while is not in the same league as Spotify and Apple Music, is still respectable. That said, it’s also been reported that Tidal has more subscriber churn than other services, with many users signing up for an exclusive, then dropping it after the exclusive has run out.
The company has also faced a significant brain drain, changing high-level execs regularly, and appears to be in a money crunch, which is why Jay-Z has been openly looking for a buyer for some time. That’s less and less likely to happen, since there’s not that much that another service would get for the acquisition. The subscriber numbers aren’t that high, you probably wouldn’t inherit the licenses, and any streaming service in the game already has it’s own infrastructure in place.
With all that in mind, look for Tidal to change significantly during 2017. To be sure, it won’ be the same service this time next year.