Tidal is in trouble, and everyone knows it.
Just over four months after the company’s relaunch, not much has gone right. There have been multiple exits from top executives, product issues, and even a lawsuit.
But according to music streaming researcher, Dr. Todd Green, none of those things broke the company.
“The true criticism of Tidal went back to the launch,” he said. “They started out on the wrong foot from the beginning.”
Green is referring to the star-studded announcement in March headed by Jay Z who had recently bought the company for $US56 million. The event featured tons of prominent artists from different genres who joined Jay Z in ownership: Coldplay, Daft Punk, Alicia Keys, Madonna, Usher, Rihanna, and Beyoncé just to name a few.
The service pledged to put value back into music by paying artists double the royalties they’d be paid with other streaming products, while promoting that it’s owned by musicians. But Green said that notion, coinciding with the superstar field of owners might have been the wrong image to promote.
“They said they would give artists more money, but you have some pretty wealthy people on the stage,” said Green. “Madonna isn’t hurting for cash.”
Green said if Tidal had rolled out lesser-known artists who seemed like they actually need the money, people would have been more likely to bite.
“They are in a tough situation. Most consumers aren’t concerned about artists’ money anyway,” he said. “But I think that was the wrong move.”
Plus, musicians who stream their music with Tidal don’t actually make more money than other services with the $US9.99 tier — they only get bigger pay if users choose the more expensive $US19.99 option which offers high quality sound.
So even if consumers are using another service and wanted to switch to Tidal so artists are paid more, they have to fork over an extra $US10 a month to make it happen. “A lot of people just aren’t willing to do that,” said Green.
Besides, according to Green, higher quality isn’t the highest priority for consumers right now. “If it was they wouldn’t be using streaming at all,” he said. “That’s where a major flaw comes in.”
People saw right through the fluff, and now Tidal is suffering the consequences.