Beleaguered Tidal subscription music service running out of cash, may close next year

“Lossless streaming music service Tidal is reported to be running out of cash, having run up losses of around $44M last year. Jay-Z and other owners are said to have lost more than half a billion dollars in all,” Ben Lovejoy reports for 9to5Mac.

“Norway’s Dagens Næringsliv says that the company now has only enough cash to last it six months, raising the prospect of the service closing down by the summer,” Lovejoy reports. “However, while Tidal acknowledges that its projections show its capital hitting zero during 2018, it claims that it will climb back from this position and achieve profitability midway through the year.”

“Tidal claimed 3M subscribers in January, while an internal report was said to put the number at 1.2M. Research company Midea estimates the current subscriber base to be around 1M,” Lovejoy reports. “This compares to around 30M for Apple Music and 60M for Spotify.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple Music roadkill.

Jay Z’s Tidal music service loses its third CEO in two years – May 26, 2017
Sprint buys stake in Tidal Music Service – January 23, 2017
Kanye West tries to goad Apple CEO Tim Cook to buy Tidal – August 1, 2016
Kanye West calls for Apple to buy Tidal, demands executive meeting – July 31, 2016
Apple buying Tidal would be a very savvy move – July 1, 2016
Why the heck would Apple want to buy Jay Z’s Tidal? – July 1, 2016
Why Apple buying Jay Z’s Tidal makes sense – and why it doesn’t – July 1, 2016
Desperate Spotify tries to manufacture an Apple App Store antitrust issue that does not exist – July 1, 2016
Spotify accuses Apple of ‘grave harm’ – July 1, 2016
Apple in talks to acquire Jay Z’s Tidal music service – June 30, 2016


    1. Yep, repetitious and unimaginatively boring tinny synthesized “drum” tracks along with the tin-talented artists who use them can go f**k themselves and make way for the truly talented.

  1. It appears that quite many people associate Tidal and whatever it has in its catalogue with its primary owner and the face of the Service (Shawn Carter, publicly known as Jay-Z).

    Tidal isn’t all rap and hip-hop. It has quite a decent catalogue of Deutsche Grammophon (the premier classical music label), as well as many mainstream classical labels. There is also plenty of jazz, country, classic rock, blues, metal, etc.

    On its face, Tidal promised what so many audiophiles here lament regarding the mainstream services: lossy compression. While there are a few obscure online outlets that offer lossless audio (and even fewer that actually sell HD audio, at 96kHz / 24 bit sampling), Tidal was seemingly the only one that could be characterised as mainstream.

    Had the owner (or the main face of it) been anyone else, with more universal appeal (or at least with higher-quality appeal), Tidal might have had a chance as a boutique, high-end BMW / Daimler type of music distributor for real connoisseurs an fans of uncompromising audio quality.

    While one reason why it failed was undoubtedly the public image of its principal promoter (Shawn Carter), the main reason for its fate is the “good enough” quality of all other mainstream services. When the noise about crappy compression of iTunes’ AAC became audible in the blogosphere, Apple released iTunes Plus tracks, doubling the bitrate (lowering compression). the noise in the blogosphere died down and that was the end of the audio quality debate.

    The world is apparently perfectly happy with the audio quality of the tracks offered by Apple Music, Spotify, Google Play and Amazon. For the uncompromising few, there will always be physical CDs (and the few sites that offer lossless), and for even fewer of those for whom even full CD-quality isn’t adequate, there are (still fewer) sites that sell HD audio (SACD, DVD-A, as well as downloads), whichever few releases do get produced in that quality.

    Apple figured out the sweet spot (256kbps AAC) and the world responded.

  2. Tidal and Apple Music can flush right down the same bowl with Beats Electronics. Cannot happen fast enough.

    Anything connected to Rap/Hip-Hop is anathema to me. My dislike for Rap/Hip-Hop is right in the same category as paying taxes, cleaning my roof gutters, cleaning a kitty litter box or watching Donald Trump on TV. Just one step above having a Marlin Spike driven between the eyes.

    My distaste for rental services also factors in as artists should be paid for their work and not fractions of a cent per play. Music with listening to is worth buying and if what you listen to is not worth buying you need to up your game.

    I listen to a very broad spectrum of music and started to learn my first instrument at 4 years old. I continue to study/play to this day and have great respect for musicians, but I do not accept someone running their mouth over a drum track as music. It may be something creative, but it is not music. The misogyny reflected in far too much of it also makes it a bridge too far.

    There will one a day when youth culture will rediscover playing musical instruments and singing without auto-tune. I would posit that 100 years from now people will still be listening to and playing many artists from many styles, but Rap/Hip-Hop will be as archaic and anachronistic as Ragtime. Marvin Gaye, Billy Strayhorn, Stevie Wonder, Bob Dylan, Pat Metheny, Bruce Springsteen, Miles Davis, the great Classical composers, Gershwin and many others will still be loved and cherished. Doubt anyone will be listening to The Weeknd, Chance the Rapper, Dr Dre or Jay Z.

    1. Just to your point about learning to play “real” instruments. Where exactly in Compton would this happen? NWA didn’t have private instruction. The rise of sampling occurred right after California’s Proposition 13 property tax cuts which let to the elimination of most music in the schools. Churches are a key part of the musical mix, but they don’t reach everyone. So if we want the next generation of kids to learn to play “real” instruments, we need to provide them, plus quality instruction, in the public schools.

      1. Those who want to always find a way.
        The old Delta Bluesmen made guitars out of Cigar Boxes and ax handle wood. Modern versions are still made for the unique sound they make.
        Dirt poor, but still made amazing music.

    2. I think history will be the judge for rap/hip-hop. I’m not sure though that you are going to be proven right. While I agree with you in many ways (in that “running mouth over drum track” leaves too many unchecked boxes to be called music), there are too many legitimate musicologists who accept it as a valid genre.

      More importantly, rap (and hip-hop) as a general genre has been around for many decades. While some of its roots go back as far as the 60s, its commercial and mainstream popularity started in the 80s, which means that it has been with us for over 30 years, and doesn’t seem to be going away.

      Many other genres have come and gone since then. Whatever the reason behind it, hip-hop and rap seems to show some stubborn resilience. Whether you like it or not, we (the humanity) are stuck with it.

      I think the main difference will be not so much the survival of the genre itself, but the endurance of any individual work (or artist) beyond their active period. In other words, people continue to record Lennon/McCartney songs five decades after they were first written and recorded, but I’m doubtful that any specific rap songs from any historical point for the genre will live beyond their original recording. It is possible that people may still listen to Run-DMC (I had to google that) recordings, but it is extremely unlikely that any of the ‘songs’ from their early 80s albums will ever be ‘covered’ by another artist in the future.

      1. That damn monotonous dance beat is on everything- the exact same thing like a dripping faucet. The fact it is usually a drum machine instead of live percussion makes it even worse as it grates on the ears.

        In the most general sense Rap is a descendant of scat which comes from Jazz dating to before World War 1. The problem is not the improvisational aspect, but the monotonous drum and bass, the obnoxious script and the themes of misogyny and other offensive things.

  3. I have Tidal patched into the big speakers and have been listening a lot for the last couple weeks…and I love it. The interface is beautifully designed and very easy to use. And the audio quality is first-rate. But most importantly, the library is very, very, very deep. I don’t seek out Rap/Hip-Hop either (which BTW are featured prominently on all of the services), and have no trouble discovering deep tracks in Americana, World, Jazz ,Indy, Folk, Classical, Indy, Kids, etc.

    Just to give you some idea, I looked up a a few important but hard-to-find artists. The number following each name shows the number of complete albums available on Tidal:

    Captain Beefheart (30)
    Billie Holiday (40)
    Chet Baker (98)
    Bela Fleck (38)
    Muddy Waters (56)
    ….appearing on an additional 55!

    Imagine a kid doing a homework project on Muddy Waters — what a fantastic resource.

    1. I totally get what you say, but in reality, Tidal still only has a fraction of a catalogue of Apple Music, and the catalogue is American-centric.

      The best thing about Apple Music: I type in Mozart Requiem and get over 120 recordings of the work, from Jordi Saval’s almost baroque rendering, (with merely 40 performers) clocking in at barely 49 minutes, to Karl Böhm’s Mahlerian version, spreading over 70 minutes, with over 120 people in the studio, and everything in between!

      Apple Music has become an invaluable research resource for me, and as much as Tidal offers pristine audio quality, its catalogue is simply miminal.

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