It’s a music streaming app, but it hasn’t been making very much noise lately.
One possible reason is the least shocking rumor you’ll read today: Tidal is a complete failure, and Jay Z is looking to jump ship.
It’s hard to believe that Tidal’s bulletproof “let’s offer nothing new, but charge double and use fabulously wealthy spokespeople” business model wasn’t enough to lure customers away from services like Spotify and the ascendant Apple Music. (Both services are far superior, better established, and more affordable.)
The odds were always stacked against Tidal: more than a few executive departures and layoffs, an almost–unanimous chorus of bad press, a (since-deleted) Twitter rant, and very scant exclusive content.
According to App Annie‘s analytics, Tidal has seen a couple of spikes tied to exclusives. But that momentum was never sustained — it currently sits in 99th place in Music and has dropped out of the top 1,500 apps overall.
The red line represents Tidal’s ranking in the App Store’s Music category. The blue line represents Tidal’s overall App Store ranking.
But, if the rumor mill is true, it might not be competition or its own innate terribleness that sinks the company.
Indeed, Tidal is facing a big, fat $50 million lawsuit from Brian “Baby” Williams’ Cash Money Records for releasing a Lil Wayne album that nobody wanted. Baby’s suit alleges that the release was “a desperate and illegal attempt to save their struggling streaming service.”
Whether that will be proven in court, who knows. But it certainly feels true, no?
Tidal claims that Wayne’s contract with Cash Money is non-exclusive, and that they were in the clear to release the album in exchange for giving the rapper a stake in the company.
This lawsuit comes after recent confusion about the business relationship between Wayne and Jay Z. Wayne announced onstage back in June that he had “signed a deal” with Jay Z. Most assumed this meant a record or management deal of some sort.
The lawsuit, filed in New York Supreme Court in mid-July, asserts that Wayne’s contract with Cash Money was exclusive and that Tidal’s stream of the album violated that contract. Tidal has not commented on the matter.
So if Tidal sinks and Jay Z washes ashore, please refer to this handy CPR guide.
(P.S. Jay, if you’re reading this, click here for a great explanation of the failures of exclusive content. Also, big fan.)