Is it genius marketing for the Tidal owner, or does this show he’s throwing in the streaming wars towel, as his company continues to struggle with growth?
The Breakdown You Need to Know: Even with Tidal’s exclusive music offerings and a $200 million investment from Sprint, it still doesn’t seem to be enough to keep the ship afloat, and Jay-Z may be jumping off the boat.
Also See: Sprint To Buy Parts Of Tidal
Jay-Z has been a vocal critic of tech companies in regards to the issue of compensating artists, so it’s a bit odd that he’s back in bed with them. Especially, when you consider Tidal markets itself as a “more equitable [business] model for artists” to make money while streaming their music.
In the beginning it was all good at Tidal, with artists like Beyoncé, Kanye West, Madonna and Chris Martin to name a few, who all had an ownership stake in the company. Each of the artists reportedly were given 3% equity in the platform, with Jay-Z holding the remaining stake.
The onset of streaming has poured new life into the music industry, with revenue hitting $5.4 billion earlier this year, $4.3 billion just from streaming services. Apple Music and Spotify boasts 113 million and 60 million subscribers respectively, which is massively hard for Tidal’s 2016 self-reported 3 million subscribers to compete with.
Also See: Tidal CEO Steps Down
Tidal’s offering is the most expensive option on the market at $20 per month. Amazon Music and Apple Music come in at $14.99 and $9.99 respectively, just another reason subscribers have been few and far between for Jay-Z’s company. They have tried other ways to grow subscribers by heavily discounting its subscription service for first responders. So if you consider yourself to be a hero, the company was offering a 40% discount for its Premium and Hi-Fi plans.
Jay-Z seems to be taking a “if you can’t beat them, join them” approach to music streaming and social advocacy. Let’s not forget he has now partnered with the NFL on it’s social justice mission, while also curating their halftime show.