Even though *big* names Kanye West, Rihanna and others are attached, Jay Z’s subscription-based music streaming service, Tidal, which he bought for $56 million in January 2015, hasn’t exactly been a smooth ride for the owner and subscribers alike. A Google search for “Tidal Problems” will fill you in if you’re not in-the-know, where you’ll find links to articles with titles like, “99 problems: Why Jay Z’s Tidal streaming service became a train wreck,” and “That’s Business, Man: Why Jay Z’s Tidal Is a Complete Disaster.”
You get the picture. I’m not a subscriber and don’t know anyone personally who is, so I can’t offer any informed commentary that will support or challenge the criticisms made by any of these articles. If you’re a Tidal user, feel free to chime in.
Most recently, in a Bloomberg piece published today, Jay Z is reportedly going after the previous owners of Tidal (Schibsted ASA, a Norwegian media company) for compensation, claiming that they overstated the service’s subscriber numbers at the time of the deal.
“It became clear after taking control of Tidal and conducting our own audit that the total number of subscribers was actually well below the 540,000 reported to us by the prior owners,” Tidal said in a statement. “As a result, we have now served legal notice to parties involved in the sale.”
And now Jay says he wants some of his $56 million back.
This is just another negative headline (as noted, there have been several already) for the streaming service, only a year after Jay bought it.
Also today, the New York Post’s Page Six is reporting that Tidal plans to get into the movie streaming business as well, potentially taking on behemoth services like Netflix and Amazon as competition.
The report says that Tidal is working with movie-industry executives to create original films that focus on the artists signed with the service, in addition to acquiring existing movies.
“The movie service will feature original content as well as acquired films. Tidal hopes to work with an indie studio or producer on a partnership to create original movies,” says Page Six.
The service has allegedly already requested approval from Apple to add movie streaming to their app, and its film component may launch as early as June.
Tidal is also reportedly in talks with The Weinstein Co. and Irv Gotti to produce original movies.
Self-branded as a service by artists and for artists, Tidal announced a few days ago that it had reached 3 million subscribers, up from 900,000 last June. The addition of movie streaming (new originals and licensing of existing libraries) might help lift its subscriber numbers.