Music

Tidal Is Already a Massive Flop, According to Chart Data

It hasn’t even been a month since Jay Z got a bunch of major music stars together to announce Tidal, a music streaming service that offers artists a piece of the company itself. But data shows that Tidal is already a massive flop, according to chart data on the most downloaded apps in the United States.

In just two weeks, Tidal went from charting as one of the Top 20 iPhone downloads in the U.S., to falling out of the Top 700 altogether. As a result of the disaster, Tidal’s CEO was kicked out and replaced with former Norwegian Ministry of Environment consultant Peter Tonstad. Yet the move doesn’t look like it’s going to make much of a difference.

Not only is Tidal plummeting on the iPhone revenue chart, the negative ad campaigns taken out against Pandora and Spotify have had the ironic effect of boosting awareness and leading to a surge in downloads for the rival apps (Pandora and Spotify are at No. 3 and No. 4, respectively, on the iPhone revenue chart as of April 20th).

Tidal Launch Event NYC #TIDALforALL

Credit: Roc Nation

Ultimately, Tidal isn’t on anyone’s radar at the moment. Sure, maybe some joined on the hope of getting Jay Z on their customer service call, but for the app to not even chart in the Top 700? That represents a complete marketing failure. And, make no mistake, this is primarily a failure of marketing, since Jay Z and co. took the absolute worst approach in launching this thing publicly.

While creating a music streaming app/service that gives musicians a bigger piece of the pie is a noble endeavor, considering just how minuscule some of the artists’ payouts are for streaming subscriptions services, it seems they got off on the wrong foot by getting a bunch of people whose combined net worth is well over a billion dollars to serve as spokespersons. Jay Z, Beyonce, Madonna, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, Usher and Chris Martin were just a few of the stars who were on-hand for the official launch, and while that’s all well and good for public visibility, it’s hard for the general public to feel sorry that, say, Kanye West isn’t making as much money as he could be making. The marketing wasn’t really focused on what Tidal could offer consumers that Spotify and Pandora couldn’t. Instead, the marketing was aimed at how Tidal would help artists get their fair share of the profits.

In essence, the ad campaign was essentially “help the rich get richer.” I could see how Jay Z and co. would see that as a useful message, since, in their minds, it was less “help the rich get richer” and more “help the artists you love get the fair payment they deserve for their hard work.” But it’s kind of hard to spin a message back to your original intention once a certain interpretation takes hold in the public consciousness. While services like Spotify and Pandora might be underpaying artists, that doesn’t necessarily tell anyone why they should be going with Tidal instead. I’m not sure how Tidal comes out of this alive, as it’s looking more and more like a $56 million bomb for Jay Z.

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