Things haven’t exactly been easy for Tidal since its high-profile relaunch last spring. After rapper Jay Z had acquired the streaming service in March and assembled an impressive line-up of fellow artists to do no less than “change the course of music history”, Tidal quickly stopped making waves.
Co-owned by the musicians themselves, Tidal was supposed to return the control over music to those who made it – the artists. However, despite the option to stream at lossless quality and the promise of exclusive material from Jay Z’s collaborators, Tidal failed to gain traction in a market that got even more competitive when Apple entered the scene with Apple Music in late June.
Enter Kanye West: After premiering his new album as part of a fashion show / art performance in Madison Square Garden last Thursday, the long-time Jay Z confidant released “The Life of Pablo” as a Tidal exclusive over the weekend. He even went as far as saying that the album would never be available anywhere but on Tidal, which would be a departure from the usual practice of granting the service an exclusive period before releasing the album to a wider audience.
West’s announcement turned out to be a godsend for the struggling music service. Global interest in Tidal quickly exploded (see the chart below) and the company’s app shot up the app store charts as fans eager to hear the record signed up in droves. Whether or not the current spike will help Tidal gain a foothold in the streaming market remains to be seen, but one thing seems fair to say: the notoriously self-absorbed rapper knows how to make some waves. – Felix Richter
This chart shows how many people searched for “tidal” on Google in the past 90 days.