This past Thursday, anyone with a wifi connection and the ability to download Jay-Z’s ‘Tidal’ audio streaming service was treated to Yeezy Season 3, Kanye West’s Tidal live video streaming event during which he debuted his new album. To the dismay of the 20 million people The Verge reports tuned into tidal to see the event, it was fraught with errors, both technical and otherwise. But, while the event angered a lot of people in the short-term, it may have actually been the kick Tidal needed to begin moving towards audio streaming prominence.
20 million. That’s a lot of viewers, especially since Jay-Z’s Tidal streaming service only has about 1 million paying users. It was certainly a larger turnout than Tidal itself expected. And therein lay the stream’s biggest downfall; the massive crowd that tuned in to watch Kanye West’s Tidal live stream totally overloaded the Tidal servers.
Within minutes of the show starting, Twitter was abuzz with people criticizing the Yeezy Season 3.
— kat calvin (@KatCalvinLA) February 11, 2016
Tidal need to get they shit together I'm trying to watch greatness and they bullshitting
— LordJones (@MasterRoshi__) February 11, 2016
The slow buffering issues and terrible audio quality continued to be a problem throughout the approximately 2-hour Tidal stream.
Vocativ actually went through over 7,500 Tweets made during the show that contained the word “Tidal” and found that almost 10 percent of them also contained the words “s**t,” “f**k,” or any of the other 4-letter expletives angry internet users love to use.
So the Tidal stream itself was a failure, to put it generously.
Those who were actually present at Madison Square garden to watch Yeezy Season 3 live or who were watching from one of the many movie theaters around the country showing the Tidal stream were luckier, as they got to see the show without interruption. Those viewers tended to be highly positive in their reviews of the actual music Kanye unveiled and optimistically negative about the clothing line, but those are subjects for another article.
What does Yeezy Season 3‘s failure mean for the future of Jay-Z’s Tidal streaming service? Well, not what you might think. Some sources actually predict that Kanye West’s Tidal live stream, while a bomb in itself, was a great move by Tidal that will greatly benefit the service in the future.
More than anything else, says Tech Radar, Tidal needs exposure. Lots of people have never even heard of Tidal, and making it the sole carrier of a huge event like the premier of Kanye West’s new album is a great way for Tidal to spread awareness. 20 million viewers is certainly nothing to scoff at, the story points out.
“It’s an amazing figure, and should serve as a wake up call for executives over at Tidal. Sure, providing concerts to subscribers is a nice perk, but if it can afford to open mega streaming events up to all, it absolutely should. They just might convince some people that signing up is worth it.”
The article goes on that if Jay-Z’s Tidal streaming service can establish itself as the music streaming provider of exclusive hip-hop content, Tidal will be able to capture a large portion of the modern streaming market.
And since a whole slew of huge artists with ties all over the music industry make up Tidal’s co-owners, this does not seem unlikely.
“Other services are of course competing for exclusives, premieres, and original content, but Tidal seems to be getting some of the best stuff,” writes Forbes.
So Kanye West’s Tidal live stream sounds like it may have actually been a win for the service. Of course, Tidal needs to take steps to make sure it can handle any increased demand they may experience, but executing an exclusive look at a huge event like Yeezy Season 3 was definitely a boost to Tidal’s success. Now, can they keep it up?
“It’s the extra stuff that really counts,” writes Tech Radar, “and Tidal is on the right track with Kanye West. Now, it just needs to find another Kanye or two.”
Could the “next Kanye” come in the form of a Tidal-exclusive release of Beyonce’s next album? Bustle speculates that this is probable, especially after Beyonce’s “Formation” single was recently released via Tidal only.
[Photo by JP Yim/Getty Images for Yeezy Season 3]