Jay Z’s Tidal Music Service has been a huge mess since it was launched and at this point should just be put out of its misery. It seems like every other day we are hearing bad things about the company. The latest in a string of missteps involves Tidal’s interim CEO Peter Tonstad, who has already stepped down.
Needless to say this wouldn’t be good news for any company, but with Jay Z’s Tidal Music Service already struggling badly this has to be a huge punch in the gut for everyone involved, especially after former CEO Andy Chen was just replaced after stepping away. While the revolving door of CEO’s may be a little surprising at first glance, it shouldn’t come as too much of a shock.
Tidal has been a shot show from the very start, and even now has less than 1 million subscribers. Spotify has 20 million subscribers so you can see the difference. So where did Jay Z and Tidal ( one in the same) really go wrong?
Where Tidal Music Service Went Wrong
We can point to several areas where the Tidal Music Service failed miserably. While the initial message was clear and even fair, the delivery was ill conceived and D.O.A. So what happened? The main selling point for Tidal was “fairer pay for artists.” Okay great, artists want fair pay (or what they consider fair pay) for their music. I can see that, no problem. it is hard to argue the fact that artists are not compensated fairly these days because of music sharing, free downloading, record sales, etc.
In the world we live in today artists make most of their money off of tours and merchandise, not record and single sales. So Jay Z and his group put together what seemed to be a good idea at the time. Offer a subscription based music service like Spotify, but raise the subscription price a little in exchange for a different user experience and allow the artists to get paid a little more.
What Went Wrong?
Fair enough, the concept seems nice and tight and God knows everything that Jay Z has touched over the last 15 years has been pure gold. However, the main problem was in the marketing campaign.
1. You got Kanye West involved. Nobody gives two shits about Kanye West. He has some great music, but as a pitch man he is lacking and as a personality he falls flat. There are wet rags with more personality than Kanye and lets face it, even the people who like him don’t really like him.
2. Getting all your wealthy celebrity friends together to bask in the launch glory and congratulate one another on making even more money. How did you think this was going to go over with subscribers? My guess is tat you didn’t think it through considering that is exactly what you did, then publicized it to the world.
3. Offer higher subscription rates while at the same time offering a mediocre user experience. This is exactly what Jay Z and the rest of the Tidal gang did.
The price of Tidal Music Service subscriptions purchased from inside the iOS app have gone up. The price of hifi moves from $19.99 a month to $25.99 a month. The non-hifi subscription moves from $9.99 a month to $12.99. Plus, Apple will charge you 30% more if you subscribe to Tidal. Probably because 1, they can, and 2, they are launching Apple Music and want to squeeze Tidal out.
Lets compare that to the subscription price points on Spotify:
Spotify offers a free service that is ad based, a $4.99 per month Spotify Unlimited subscription, and a $9.99 per month Spotify premium subscription. As you can see, the highest subscription point for Spotify is only the lowest starting subscription point for Tidal.
Put Tidal Out of Its Misery
So, should Tidal even try to stick around? I noticed we have heard a lot less from Kanye West, which is always a plus. Whomever made that decision should be the new CEO. Still though, the marketing hasn’t changed and the subscription price points don’t make sense. The user experience is still mediocre, and even if that was spruced up I seriously doubt that Jay Z and the rest of his Tidal entourage will be able to get people excited about a music subscription service that is so highly priced.
All that being said, the final blow may come soon when the aforementioned Apple launches its Apple Music. Streaming Service. The fact that Apple will more than likely be putting out something beautiful and reasonable combined with the fact that Taylor Swift is back on board with Apple Music, you are giving Tidal nothing to look forward to.
Please put the Tidal Music Service out of its misery already. it was a decent concept but it has been handled poorly and at this point the entire Tidal situation is laughable.