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Tidal music service flops despite backing from Jay Z, Beyonce and Kanye

·Executive Producer/Writer

It was less than a month ago that megastar Jay Z, his equally famous wife Beyonce and several of their musician friends announced the launch of a new music streaming service called Tidal. The service was a bit pricier than competitors like Spotify and Pandora (P) but was said to offer a better deal to artists and give users higher quality audio.

Jay Z earlier this year bought Tidal from Swedish-listed parent Aspiro for $56 million amid a rapid growth in streaming, which allows unlimited on-demand music (AFP Photo/Adrian Sanchez-Gonzalez)
Jay Z earlier this year bought Tidal from Swedish-listed parent Aspiro for $56 million amid a rapid growth in streaming, which allows unlimited on-demand music (AFP Photo/Adrian Sanchez-Gonzalez)

It seems though that music streamers are perfectly happy with the services they have. The buzz around Tidal pushed the app high in the iPhone download rankings when it was first announced. Now, three weeks later it doesn’t even rank in the top 700.

BGR notes that Kanye West, also associated with the service, removed the Tidal logo from his Twitter profile and scrubbed any Tidal related tweets from his feed (he then seemed to see the PR error of his ways and Tweeted about Tidal early this morning).

On the corporate side, Business Insider reports Tidal laid off 25 employees last Friday including the man who founded the company, Andy Chen.

When news of the new Tidal app originally broke, Yahoo Finance spoke with Dave DiMartino, Executive Editor of Yahoo Music, about the issues surrounding streaming growth. “The Spotify argument has always been that the more people that come on-board, the more money will be generated. The more money that’s generated, the happier the artists and the labels and the talent suppliers will be,” he said, noting that as we get into 2016 and 2017 streaming will be taking up an increasingly large portion of the music industry pie.

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Tidal was an attempt to offer something new but it’s important to remember that the tastemakers of the industry are teenagers without disposable income. A more expensive service, it appears, may not be the best course.

DiMartino suggests that exclusive content may be the winner in any streaming war that erupts as the space grows. Perhaps that was the goal of Tidal, but with rapidly dwindling interest in the company they may not be around long enough to achieve it.

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