Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Tidal's In Big Trouble

Tidal Music StreamingWhen Jay-Z bought the music streaming service Tidal last year the purchase was met with a lot of hope and controversy.

Hope because he was an artist and successful businessman who could steer the company in the right direction. Controversy because of the initial tone-deaf press conference where a who's who of artists were trotted out, all saying that they'd finally be getting their financial due now that Tidal was here.

Since then it's been all downhill. Just in the last 30 days:
  • Tidal exclusively released Kanye West's latest album The Life of Pablo, which gained no traction on the Billboard charts since Tidal refused to release any of the user data to Nielsen. A total embarrassment for all.
  • Yesterday Tidal was served with a class-action lawsuit for $5 million for failing to register and pay mechanical royalties to an artist in the U.S. This is exactly the same type of lawsuit currently pending with Spotify, and one that an "artist's company" would be expected to avoid.
  • Today it's being reported that Tidal fired both its COO and CFO, after having fired it's CEO late last year. At this point, the company is left without any experienced leadership.
Jay-Z has reportedly been in talks with Samsung to buy Tidal, but one wonders why that company would even want it, since it already has a failing music service in Milk Music.

Tidal could have been an innovator and leader in the streaming sector, but instead it's just a mess. It's lead in hi-res music streaming was never exploited and even acknowledged once Jay-Z took over, and every month there's a new mis-step. Maybe Jay-Z isn't the businessman he's cracked up to be after all.

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