Jay Z’s ‘Tidal’ Streaming Service Sailing Into Troubled Waters

Jay Z launched his Tidal music-streaming service on March 31 amidst a wave of hype and fanfare. The launch of Tidal was a star-studded affair, with Jay Z joined on stage by the likes of Madonna, Kanye West, Rihanna, and Daft Punk. Jay Z promised investors and potential subscribers alike that Tidal represented a change that would revolutionize the music industry.

Jay Z paid $56 million for Aspiro, the company behind Tidal. Jay Z said he wanted Tidal to be the first artist-owned music streaming platform and promised that 75 percent of its revenue would be paid back to the music industry.

Just three weeks after its launch, Tidal seems to be sailing into troubled waters. As reported in Inquisitr, Tidal has already parted company with its CEO, Andy Chen, who was replaced by Peter Tonstad, who, according to the company, had a “better understanding of the industry and a clear vision for how the company is looking to change the status quo.”

According to the Guardian, Jay Z and Tidal have suffered another blow as the companies app has sunk, virtually without trace, in Apple’s app store. The Tidal app has already dropped out of the top 750 apps and only just scrapes into the top 50 music apps. In a trend that is sure to worry Jay Z, whilst the Tidal app has tanked, the Spotify and Pandora apps have both climbed into the top 5.

Bob Lefsetz, a music critic and industry analyst, said Tidal did not have what it takes to dominate the already-crowded streaming market, and with Apple and YouTube both set to launch streaming services, the market is not going to get any easier. Lefsetz argues that Tidal is dead in the water because it is a “pay only” service and one that is twice as expensive as its rivals.

Criticism of Jay Z and Tidal from other musicians has not been hard to find. Mumford and Sons, Death Cab for Cutie, and Lily Allen have all criticized Tidal, claiming that the service will do nothing to support musicians who are not already “A-list.” In a further blow to Tidal, Hot New Hip Hop reports that Kanye West, a high profile supporter of Tidal, may be losing the faith after he deleted posts from Twitter that demonstrated his support. West has also removed the Tidal logo from his account profile.

Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie explained some of the difficulty faced by Jay Z and Tidal when he said “they totally blew it by bringing out a bunch of millionaires and billionaires and then having them all complain about not being paid.”

It appears that Jay Z and Tidal could be in for a rough ride.

[Photo by Jamie McCarthy / Getty Images]