Jay-Z Rode The Tidal Wave. Has It Peaked?
When Jay-Z released his “4:44” album on June 30 to critical acclaim, Moguldom proposed 10 reasons why “4:44” will help push his Tidal music streaming service to a $1-billion-plus valuation. We wanted to follow up with a story on app rankings and efforts to keep people subscribed to service. Tidal is putting out some interesting exclusive content to keep users engaged. Are they staying subscribed after the exclusive window? Is Tidal staying at the top of the app ranking? When the Kanye West album was released, Tidal’s app ranking went to top but later collapsed. Will it be different this time? Moguldom asked a variety of stakeholders what they think.
Jay-Z’s music streaming app, Tidal, has declined in the rankings since the June 30 release of his latest album, “4:44.”
Recently the app was 27th among music apps and 416th overall, a precipitous drop from a week prior when it was the 16th most popular music app and 243rd overall. This data suggests the app declined in part to “4:44” being released in other formats such as physical CDs and Google Play.
While Jay-Z’s label, Roc Nation, has been celebrating the recent signing of Korean rapper Jay Park, the headlines have been focused on Kanye West. West left Tidal battling over finances.
LaToya Hagler has been a Tidal subscriber for two years and she told Moguldom she has no complaints.
“The user interface and catalog has steadily improved,” Hagler said. “I choose Tidal because it is artist owned and pays the most to the artists. I believe we should place appropriate value on music. Would never go to Spotify.”
Earlier this year, the streaming service was valued at $600 million. Jay-Z teamed up with superstar and wife Beyonce, and the app became hugely popular after her Tidal-exclusive release of “Lemonade” on April 30, 2016.
Edward Bowser, a content marketing expert and blogger for Soul In Stereo, said he’s not sure if he can trust subscription numbers he has seen for Tidal.
“There have been accusations of inflation for a while now,” Bowser told Moguldom. However Bowser’s wife got the Tidal app to get access to “Lemonade.”
The biggest complaints Bowser hears from music fans is the gimmicky nature of the Tidal exclusives –- “strong-arming fans into signing up just to hear the new Bey/Kanye/Jay albums doesn’t go over well for many of them,” Bowser said.
Tidal subscriber Eric Danforth said that Beyonce is the only thing keeping him from switching to Apple Music.
Some people don’t like feeling forced to buy something just to get an exclusive, Hagler said. “I have also heard the free tier of Spotify is enough for a lot of people.”
Pricing and lack of good publicity turned off potential fans, Hagler said. “Honestly I don’t think Tidal ever recovered from the initial rollout with only the $20 price tier. A lot of especially younger people dismissed it after that. They still don’t know about the $10 tier or student options.”
Thanks to Jay-Z’s album gaining stellar critical acclaim, it has risen to the top spot on the Billboard 200. The Tidal app remains in the top 50 highest-grossing paid apps in the iTunes store.
Sign up for the Moguldom newsletter — business news you need to know about economic empowerment for the digital age, delivered to your inbox.