The music-streaming space is hugely competitive, and face-to-face with Spotify, Apple, Google and others, Tidal is apparently struggling to stay afloat. According to a report in the Norwegian outlet Dagens Næringsliv, Tidal only has six months worth of money to, uh, tide it over.
In all, Jay-Z’s pet project is rumoured to have racked up $44 million worth of losses in 2016 alone, although a spokesperson dismissed the report to Engadget, saying: “We have experienced negative stories about Tidal since its inception and we have done nothing but grow the business each year.” Not an entirely convincing statement, but the best we have for now – we’ve reached out to the company and will update this if we get something more substantial back.
Still, taking that statement at face value, there is such a thing as growing year-on-year, but crucially not growing fast enough – and in the financially rocky world of streaming music, things are particularly dicey.
Tidal’s numbers are pretty opaque. In September 2015, Jay-Z tweeted that the service had hit one million subscribers, but Dagens Næringsliv disputed this, reporting that internal payments showed the number being closer to 350,000. Last March, the company boasted it had hit three million users, but said elsewhere it was 1.2 million. Since then, it has sensibly kept pretty quiet.
Whichever figure you believe, though, Tidal is crucially a country mile behind its rivals, as the graph above from our friends at Statista demonstrates. Spotify, the market leader, claims to have more than 140 million active users, and 60 million paid subscribers, yet it still makes a loss. Within that landscape, it’s hard to imagine Tidal making great waves in 2018, no matter how bullish the company’s press statements.