Jay Z recently took to Twitter in a 15-message long rant to defend his failing music streaming service, Tidal.
As the rapper pointed out, the service only launched a few weeks ago. However, it launched with an overblown, celebrity-led market push. It used non-profit rhetoric on a for-profit vanity project that failed to identify an actual user need.
The artists who initially supported it quickly changed their Twitter avatars from Tidal aqua to their own photos, and Kanye West even deleted his pro-Tidal tweets. Madonna, who is also part of the project, failed to supply exclusives and instead released new music on competing services like Snapchat, Periscope and Meerkat. And according to Page Six, association with Tidal is hurting Rihanna’s career as Apple has stopped pushing her music as hard on iTunes.
Now, there are claims that Tidal is actually laying people off as it’s doing so poorly. Tidal senior executive Vania Schlogel tells Variety that those claims are “very overblown”. Clarifying that, unlike Spotify and Pandora, “Our business model, our viability as a business, is not driven by the number of app downloads. It’s driven by the number of people who subscribe.”
She adds that Jay “felt like I’m going to speak for myself and set the record straight” because it’s “very unfortunate [that] there is an element of disparity between reality and perception.”
Although, Vania admits, “We’re losing money hand over fist like every streaming service is….we’ll have to raise money”. The situation is made worse as “exclusives” are leaked immediately after release: “The reality is [piracy] is going to happen. It’s something we have to live with.”