Kanye May Have Single-Handedly Doubled Tidal’s Subscribers…

by Charlotte Hassan

Charlotte Hassan
Image from Pixabay, licensed under Creative Commons.

Since Kanye West released his ‘The Life Of Pablo’ album exclusive on Tidal, the number of Tidal subscribers has surged.  For the first time ever, the high-quality streaming platform ranked number 1 on the iOS App Store. 

Tidal has yet to announce anything, though it appears that Kanye has had a very, very big impact on Jay Z’s pet project.  According to early bits from TMZ, Kanye’s ‘The Life of Pablo’ has already been streamed millions of times, with the number of ‘subscribers “more than doubled from around 1 million to 2.5 million”.

Plenty of information remains unknown, including the number of actual paying (versus trial) subscribers.  But this is still a big leap for Tidal.  Though still far behind Spotify’s estimated 27 million and Apple’s 11 million, the growth spurt solidly moves Tidal from fringe to threat.  Indeed, Kanye’s move to exclusively release his album via Tidal has undeniably had a positive impact on the service, though it remains unclear if Kanye himself has benefited from the deal.

Part of the problem for Kanye is that exclusives can be very limiting to artists.  Just yesterday, it emerged that ‘Pablo’ didn’t even make the charts, thanks to Tidal’s refusal to release data to tracking authority Nielsen Music.  More importantly, ‘The Life of Pablo’ has been illegally downloaded more than half-a-million times, according to an estimate by Torrent Freak, thanks partly to unavailability on Spotify and Apple.

Kanye may have received upfront cash consideration for the exclusive, though depending on that amount, Kanye may have done Jay Z a massive favor.

But how big of a favor?  How many trial subscribers are going to stick around after the 30-day free trial ends?  At least Tidal now has the opportunity to convert users with high quality audio or other exclusives, video content, and the value of being on an ‘artist-endorsed’ platform.

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