[Update: Kanye changed his mind about his album distribution method the day after his original post, a fact this story has been edited to reflect.]
Last night, Kanye West took to Twitter to post a 132-character message that would prove to be the biggest boost to overall recognition and potential for success in the history of Jay-Z’s Tidal music streaming service.
The next day, he changed his mind about releasing the album on other media after a week.
Kanye is not ever going to sell his new album, The Life of Pablo, in a traditional retail sense, but he made it available for free to Tidal subscribers.
Even though Kanye’s initial plug for Tidal was just about as shameless and tactless as they come, it was enormous for the service.
The endorsement of someone as widely respected as Kanye West, who has been all over the news lately for his relationship with Kim Kardashian and the release of The Life of Pablo among other things, is just what Tidal needed.
Ever since its release, Tidal has been dogged by controversy and mixed criticism. But the main reason it has had trouble getting off the ground is because of lack of exposure. The service is actually quite good as far as audio streaming platforms go, according to Tech Radar, but a lot of people have never even heard of Tidal and, therefore, do not know how great it is.
So exposure was what Jay-Z’s Tidal streaming service needed more than anything else, and exposure is what Kanye West’s pleading tweet brought to Tidal… in spades.
In fact, just eight hours after West’s original tweet about making The Life of Pablo a Tidal exclusive for a week, Tidal’s mobile app was the #1 download in the iOS App Store.
Kanye is one of Tidal’s co-owners, but he only recently became heavily involved in Tidal’s actual content production with last week’s Tidal-exclusive live video stream of Yeezy Season 3, West’s album debut and fashion show rolled into one.
The Yeezy Season 3 stream itself bombed but, as predicted, but West’s heavy involvement with Tidal and his decision to release The Life of Pablo exclusively on the service would prove to be hugely beneficial for Jay-Z’s Tidal music streaming service.
Now that Kanye has debuted his new album on Tidal and shoved an up-front ad for the service in the faces of West’s 18.8 million Twitter followers, people are really starting to take notice of Tidal, which up until recently only boasted about 1 million subscribers worldwide.
Tech Crunch points out that the windfall of mobile app downloads Kanye West has bestowed upon Tidal by no means translates to an equal amount of paying subscribers; some of the people downloading will probably enter their credit card for the one-week free trial the service offers, listen to West’s The Life of Pablo a few times, unsubscribe from the service, and uninstall the app.
But a good amount of the downloaders will probably download and subscribe to Tidal only to find that it is actually a very good service. Who knows how many lifelong customers Tidal could end up scoring?
All speculation aside, though, there is no arguing with the fact that West’s shout-out gave Jay-Z’s Tidal streaming service some big time exposure. And for that, Tidal owes Kanye big-time.
Or maybe Kanye West is the one paying a debt back to Tidal, as he admitted on Twitter that Tidal has been the economic force behind a lot of his projects.
Speaking of debts, Kanye has also recently revealed that he is $53 million in debt. Hopefully Tidal can fund West out of that hole, as well.
[Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Yeezy Season 3]