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Three years after the launch of Beyonce’s Lemonade album, her latest, it is finally available on Spotify and other streaming platforms. Is this the sign of Tidal’s end? Four years ago, we wrote about TIDAL and the way Jay-Z (Beyonce’s husband) wanted to revolutionize the music streaming industry. When Beyonce launched her latest album Lemonade only on TIDAL, the message was clear. Well, three years later, the album is finally on Spotify and in other streaming platforms. Why?

TIDAL Never took-off really

Back in 2015, when we wrote our article about Tidal, the streaming platform accounted for 500’000 users worldwide and around 20 million songs. In one year, Jay-Z platform did have a great start. Four years later, the platform declares to have 3 Million paid users and about 60 million songs. In comparison, Spotify used to have back in 2015 around 15 million paid users and 30 million songs. Today, the Swedish platform has 96 million paid users (207 million in total) for a global catalogue of 40 million songs.


One of the interesting aspects of launching TIDAL was the promise of a better sound quality. Here is the most important question: is the sound better on Tidal? Frankly? No. The average listener will not notice any difference with Spotify. The “advanced listener” will invest in a very high fidelity headphones and be very sensitive to details. What this listener will feel is that music on Tidal is somehow “louder”. Both services integrate music from CD support. The encoding between the 2 companies is not necessary different but it is true the sound is slightly louder on Tidal (which does not mean a better quality). So no big differences. If you want to increase the quality of your listening you better invest in proper headphones no matter which tool you are using.

TIDAL Subscribers Numbers Is An Unsolved Mystery

When you read the press, you will find many different numbers for the total subscribers. The platform itself declared a 3 million mark but many analysts and newspapers say it is much less. Two years ago, Jay-Z announced on Twitter that Tidal crossed the bar of one million users. Of course no details were provided in the split between Paid subscribers, trial accounts, etc.


According to Gizmodo, Dagens Naeringsliv, a Norwegian newspaper that sits diligently on the Tidal beat, reported in May 2018 that the company allegedly falsified streaming numbers for Kanye West’s The Life of Pablo and Beyoncé’s Lemonade. The newspaper partnered with the Norwegian University of Science and Technology’s Center for Cyber and Information Security, which concluded that over 90 per cent of Tidal users saw manipulated listening stats and that the company logged over 300 million fraudulent streams for the two artists. Tidal vehemently denied the claims, but in the 78-page report, the centre concluded that it’d be highly unlikely for this level of data manipulation to occur from outside of the company. While it was a scandalous report, such claims are not outside of the ordinary for Tidal since Jay-Z’s purchase.

Despite having strong driving forces like Rihanna, Beyonce and Kayne West, Tidal is losing money. Back in 2016, it announced a total loss of USD 44 Million. The real numbers of subscribers remains a mystery as per today. Analysts would tend to say that real numbers are closer to the million but nobody really knows.

By bringing Lemonade to Apple iTunes and Spotify, it shows that TIDAL is losing the battle of exclusivity. While movie streaming businesses like Amazon Prime, Netflix, HBO or recently Disney+ are battling through exclusivity, the music industry is not managing it. Giants like Spotify and Apple iTunes are winning this battle, meaning that if you are not in… well you are out. So it is a wise decision from Beyonce to place Lemonade in other music streaming services, which also facilitate fan’s lives.

How long TIDAL will still work? Nobody knows.

José Amorim
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