Things haven’t exactly been easy for Tidal since its high-profile relaunch
in the spring of 2015. After rapper Jay-Z had acquired the streaming service and assembled an impressive line-up of fellow artists to do no less than “change the course of music history”, Tidal quickly stopped making waves.
Co-owned by the musicians themselves, Tidal was supposed to return the control over music to those who made it – the artists. However, despite the star power involved, Tidal failed to gain traction in a market that got even more competitive when Apple entered the scene with Apple Music
later the same year. In March 2016, when Tidal last shared its user number publicly, the service had 3 million subscribers. However, earlier this year reports surfaced
saying that the company may have overstated its subscriber numbers significantly.
For all its problems, Tidal has one golden lifejacket to keep it afloat: its blockbuster exclusives. Global superstars such as Rihanna, Kanye West, Beyoncé and most recently Jay-Z himself all released their latest albums exclusively on Tidal first. Some are still only streaming on Tidal, others quickly became available to buy (and in some cases stream) elsewhere. As our chart, based on Google Search Trends, illustrates, each of these releases has sparked interest in Tidal anew.
The pull of these artists and their releases may have helped convince Sprint to get aboard the Tidal train. The telecom giant reportedly paid $200 million for a 33 percent stake in the company
in January, meaning that Jay-Z, who acquired Tidal’s parent company Aspiro for $56 million in 2015, and his co-owners already made a healthy profit on their investment.