5 Of The Biggest Problems That May Doom Jay-Z’s Tidal Streaming Service

31-tidal-press-conference.w1403.h933.2xThe Pitch

When Tidal was launched March 30, many of the music industry’s heavy-hitters were backing up Jay Z’s new business venture. Kanye West, Beyonce, Rihanna, Alicia Keys, Nicki Minaj, Usher and Madonna stood on a stage to present a streaming service that gives the money to the artists, where it belongs.

The problem is that all of these artists combined are worth well north of a billion dollars. If Jay Z wanted to make the case for the struggling artists, get the struggling artists out front and center stage. Make them the mouthpiece because it is difficult to sympathize with the extremely wealthy.  However, Beyonce and others could help promote the service later on, just not initially.

Jay Z Drops #TidalFacts to Defend New Streaming Service Against Premature Allegations of Failure

When Jay Z announced the March launch of his new music-streaming service Tidal, there was only one thing more evident than just how far-reaching the hip-hop mogul’s network is — everyone was waiting for Tidal to fail.

Before Tidal officially hit the market, bloggers and reporters were busy detailing what they believed would be an epic failure.

Industry professionals insisted that Jay Z’s latest endeavor would do nothing more than expose the “limit of his celebrity,” and reviews scoffed at the idea of paying for a music-streaming service when so many free options are already out on the market.

So when Tidal quickly dropped out of the top 700 downloads on the iTunes App store, the reactions varied from “I told you so” to accusations that Jay Z and Beyonce’s every move for the next year or so would be desperate attempts to save a so-called sinking ship.

Jay Z, and the Blerds team, believe that critics have the situation all wrong.

“Tidal is doing just fine,” he tweeted in response to all the backlash. “We have over 770,000 subs. We have been in business less than one month. #TidalFacts.”

As we previously reported, it seemed unusually early for Tidal to be considered a failure simply because it wasn’t keeping up with streaming services like Spotify and Pandora that have years of experience under their belt.

“The iTunes Store wasn’t built in a day,” Jay Z continued on Twitter. “It took Spotify 9 years to be successful…We are here for the long haul. Please give us a chance to grow & get better. #TidalFacts.”

He even accused other companies of signing huge checks just to put out smear campaigns against the new service.

“There are many big companies that are spending millions on a smear campaign,” he added. “We are not anti-anyone, we are pro-artist & fan. #TidalFacts.”

In addition to asking people for more time before judging the new app, he also reminded everyone that when it comes to comparing the service, Spotify and Pandora still aren’t the best matches.

The service isn’t just about streaming music for a quick workout or a long road trip. It’s about giving fans access to exclusive content that builds on their relationship with the artists they love and adore.

“We made Tidal for fans,” he added. “We have more than just music. We have video, exclusive concerts, tickets for events early, live sports….Tidal is where artists can give their fans more without the middlemen. #TidalFacts.”

He continued to explain the difference between Tidal and other streaming services and emphasizing the principle at the very core of the app.

Tidal’s mission is to keep the integrity of the music and stop slashing the amount of revenue artists can make through streaming as it continues its steady incline to become the most popular method used for listening to music.

“Our actions will speak louder than words,” another tweet read. “We made Tidal to bring people the best experiences and to help artists give that to their fans over and over again. We are human (even Daft Punk ha). We aren’t perfect—but we are determined. #TidalFacts.”

Tidal is certainly going to have a tough road ahead as it is bringing a relatively new concept to the marketplace with a streaming service that actually does a lot more than just play music.

When it comes down to it, however, the service is not necessarily competing for numbers.

The number of people who just want to listen to certain music easily outnumbers the number of people who not only want to listen to an artist but also want to see their behind-the-scenes footage, exclusive interviews and more.

As Jay Z said, Tidal is a service specifically for the dedicated fans.

Tidal very well could turn out to be a tremendous failure for the hip-hop mogul, but it only seems right that the service is at least given a chance to grow and evolve before it’s bashed as a “flop” after only a few weeks of being in existence.


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.”

Jay Z’s Latest Power Move Would Bring Him Into Music Distribution With Premium Streaming Services

“I’m not a businessman. I’m a business, man!”

Jay Z said it, and he certainly meant it.

The hip-hop mogul’s latest power move could bring HOV into the music-distribution game as he is reportedly preparing to buy the Swedish tech company Aspiro.

Reports surfaced saying Jay Z is offering 464 million Swedish crowns for the company.

That’s roughly $56 million in U.S. dollars.

He’s also offering the entire amount in cash.

If he does add Aspiro to his rapidly growing empire, it will give him ownership of two streaming services — WiMP and Tidal.

At first glance it seems like he would be preparing to battle it out with other streaming services like Pandora or Spotify, but a closer look reveals that might not exactly be the case.

Both of the soon-to-be acquired streaming services would be described by some music heads as more “premium” services compared to services like Spotify.

It’s not just for the everyday man who wants to get his fill of old-school jams or the newest hip-hop tracks. This would be for the dedicated music head who doesn’t just want to listen to new songs. He wants to read about new artists and discover the stories behind their favorite tracks.

Both WiMP and Tidal offer daily track recommendations for users along with interviews and curated playlists.

With all the extra content, the subscription price is much higher than the services most music lovers are used to.

While Spotify only costs about $10 a month, Tidal will cost $19.99 a month, but it will also give users access to more than 25 million tracks and a whopping 75,000 music videos.

There is also a major difference in the markets here.

Currently, WiMP is only available in Denmark, Germany, Norway, Poland and Sweden.

Of course, if the hip-hop mogul takes over, there is no telling where he might want to take the services next or how he might want to rebrand them.

If Jay Z closes on the deal, he will make the purchase via another project few people know he already has — Project Panther Bidco.

Project Panther has been keeping tabs on Aspiro for some time, The Verge reported, saying that the company was an “innovative high-quality company with strong future growth potential.”

If the deal goes through then Jay Z will join other music greats like Neil Young and Dr. Dre as musicians who crossed the line from artists into distribution through streaming services.