Kanye West Backs Away From Tidal as the App Seems to Flop, But Tidal’s Numbers May Say More About Consumers Than the Service

Jay Z and his star-studded team of Tidal co-owners took over the Web as they announced the release of the premium music service back in March, but it seems like all the Internet hype isn’t converting to actual sales.

Now that Tidal has already dropped out of the top 700 for all iTunes downloads, there are two questions around the app that deserve some serious pondering: Is co-owner Kanye West backing away from the app now that he sees it won’t be an instant hit and what does Tidal’s early “flop” say about the very same people who constantly bash artists who are dedicating much of their time to corporate deals and sponsorships rather than more new music?

The headlines have swept the Web, and now everybody knows what many had guessed all along — getting consumers to hand over roughly $10 a month for a streaming service when free options are available is no easy task. It’s not an easy sale and it won’t be an instant success even if Rihanna, Beyonce, Nicki Minaj, Kanye West, DeadMau5 and J.Cole are among the stars backing the project.

That fact, in all honesty, is not a surprise.

What is a little more surprising, however, is that Jay Z’s close pal West seems to be backing out of the project now that it turns out it won’t have such an easy rise to greatness (if it has one at all).

Prior to the launch, the “New Slaves” rapper was busy advocating for the app on social media.

He posted pictures of the press conference on his Twitter and encouraged his followers to turn their profile pictures blue in support of Tidal.

Shortly after the app dropped from the No. 4 spot on the iOS music app chart to a disappointing 51, West has now deleted his Tidal-promoting tweets.

He has yet to explain why he deleted the posts on social media but there’s also a good chance that he never will.

But perhaps the bigger issue at hand has nothing to do with West at all.

Is Tidal’s flop a sign of hypocrisy among the vast collection of music lovers who long protested how little artists got paid and slammed the deteriorating value being placed on music in today’s digital age?

Only a few weeks after fans and major publications sounded off about Kendrick Lamar starring in a Reebok commercial, insisting he was now a “sell-out,” they have revealed exactly why artists will never be able to turn a blind eye to corporate checks and superficial sponsorships.

Companies like Reebok are willing to pay the bill. Consumers are not.

Album sales are plummeting across all genres and while streaming is picking up steam, only the free services are the ones that are flourishing.

Tidal’s premium price comes with a promise that artists will no longer be given fractions of a dollar for all their music that is streamed by consumers who didn’t want to go out and buy a CD or download the album from a reputable online source that actually counts toward the artists’ profits.

It also boasts better sound quality, another feature that consumers just don’t seem to be too concerned about.

There seems to be a misconstrued idea that there can be a music industry where artists are not wrapped up in commercial and corporate ties while consumers are still able to binge on their music for absolutely no cost at all.

Because, like, music should totally be free for everybody, dude.

Consumers have every right to spend their money how they’d like. If paying $10 a month for a streaming service isn’t worth it, that’s perfectly understandable.

Where consumers should draw the line, however, is slamming an artist as disingenuous when he or she seeks other sources of revenue such as sponsorships and commercial endorsements after so-called music lovers made it clear that they don’t want their listening pleasures to come with a price tag.

Tidal’s flop represents the market’s desire, or lack thereof, for artists to get a fairer share for their music.

If that’s the case, Pepsi, Reebok, Beats, Mountain Dew and other major brands have every right to step in and write the check that nobody else was willing to pen for the artists they listen to on a daily basis.

Not to mention the fact that it may be too early to officially deem Tidal a flop anyway.

The app was never predicted to shine in the realm of snatching Spotify users who just want endless access to a great gym playlist.

Tidal’s star-studded team is what gave it promise. The potential for Tidal-exclusive content in the future may be what helps the app take on new life.

After all, rumors are already swirling that Jay Z and Beyonce are planning a joint album that will be available exclusively on Tidal and Rihanna’s “Bitch Better Have My Money” is already a Tidal exclusive that’s not available on Spotify or Beats.

A host of other content from the A-list co-owners, like Daft Punk’s Electroma film and behind-the-scenes video of Alicia Keys’ Set the World on Fire Tour at Madison Square Garden, are also only accessible on Tidal.

The app clearly has some serious obstacles to navigate, but it still seems a bit too early to determine if the app is truly going to crash and burn.

Sources: Jay Z’s New Streaming Service Could Be the Biggest Threat to Apple’s Upcoming Beats Music

The world of digital streaming may be gearing up for the battle of the decade all thanks to Jay Z’s latest business venture that may come dangerously close to stepping on Apple’s toes.

Jay Z only recently purchased Aspiro, the Swedish company behind Tidal and WiMP, but it seems he’s already transformed Tidal into a top-notch competitor with the potential to overshadow Apple’s upcoming Beats streaming service.

There are certain names, certain brands and certain businesses that are deemed undefeatable in the eyes of many — hip-hop mogul Jay Z and tech giant Apple are among the names on this list.

So who wins a battle that pits both of these giants against one another?

According to the New York Post’s sources, here is how the match is stacking up so far.

In Apple’s corner we have rap icon Dr. Dre and mega-producer Jimmy Iovine who have been teaming up to overhaul Apple’s upcoming Beats music service.

In Tidal’s corner, we have hip-hop mogul and versatile entrepreneur Jay Z, international singing sensation Beyonce, self-proclaimed creative genius and rap veteran Kanye West, the leader of her own navy and Billboard chart-topper Rihanna … need we go on?

To be fair, all of the music moguls involved have a list of connections in the music and entertainment space that could trump a full encyclopedia set in length, and it’s hard to imagine any of them wouldn’t get their phone calls answered when they’re ready to talk business.

Sources claim, however, that Jay Z is possibly the only man who is actually more connected than the Beats duo.

“There’s only one person with a bigger Rolodex than Jimmy Iovine and that’s Jay Z,” one source said.

Jay Z’s advantage doesn’t just stop at connections and contacts either.

While Tidal is earning a reputation as the streaming platform “by artists, for artists,” Apple’s iTunes service has already garnered a negative reputation for playing hardball with record labels.

That type of reputation could be difficult to overcome as the company prepares to launch its Beats service.

“Jay Z’s whole approach is, they’re created by artists, supported by artists,” one anonymous label executive told the New York Post. “The more players the better.”

With Roc Nation under Jay Z’s belt as well, he has a plethora of key players in the music business that his company represents, including Kanye West and DJ DeadMau5.

It creates a possible team roster that is not only extensive in size and impressive in the overall quality of music, but also extremely diverse.

With his own loyal following of hip-hop heads, his wife’s team of pop-loving BeeHive dwellers and DJ DeadMau5’s fanbase of both progressive-house music lovers and those who are just fascinated with his funky mouse heads, Tidal already has a diverse network ready to be tapped into.

Not to mention Tidal made a huge play by securing a deal with Taylor Swift shortly after she cut ties with Spotify.

“If you are Jimmy, you’ve got to be thinking, this guy is beating me to the punch at trying to get all the artists,” another source said.

Jay Z’s rumored guest list for his New York launch event for Tidal on Monday is yet another look into the wide span of award-winning artists who are getting behind the service.

Reports revealed that Rihanna, Madonna and Coldplay are just a few of the major stars who are rumored to be attending the lavish event.

It all signifies a few powerful first blows coming out of Tidal’s corner, but since Apple’s Beats service doesn’t plan on launching until the summer it’s hard to gauge how powerful the response will be from the opposing corner.

Regardless, one thing is already certain.

As another source put it, Jay Z is clearly “disrupting Apple’s venture.”