Tidal is screwed and probably won't last very much longer

Tidal is screwed and probably won't last very much longer

MusicSeptember 15, 2016 By Brian Frederick

From day one it was doomed.

Tidal, with its superstar ownership and strong-arming album exclusives, is losing a ton of money according to newly discovered reports. It’s also way behind on bills.

So basically it’s like that awkward cousin of yours on Facebook that still wears Tapout shirts while reposting dead links from Breitbart instead of looking for another job.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the streaming service lost $28 million last year, some $17.4 million more than what it had lost in 2014. The report also highlights about $438,000 owed to almost 100 labels.

Although, losing money isn’t always a bad thing in today’s confusing realm of business, especially in the music streaming market. Investors and companies industry-wide have thrown literal billions at the so-called “future of music” but have yet to see any profits.

Tidal isn’t alone in this.

Even with over 40 million paying users (earning around $400 million a month), Spotify still has yet to profit. The company claims to pull in over $2 billion a year, yet still sits in the red.

Crazy right?

Apple Music, with its infinite amount of cash on hand, isn’t doing very well either. Only sporting 17 million paid users, the company is in the same position of figuring out how to wrangle a profit in a very expensive game.

So while Tidal is losing its ass, in the grand scheme of things, it’s not really doing any more poorly than others in streaming. The difference here is how long each one can actually keep up. Apple isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, and the fact that Spotify has grabbed 40 million loyal users (the largest fanbase by a long shot), it’s safe to say it’ll be around for a bit too.

But investors aren’t going to keep funneling money into a product that doesn’t offer anything special by way of platform or song libraries. Tidal’s once lauded scam of ‘exclusives’ will eventually run its course too, considering Universal Music Group’s CEO Lucian Grainge is banning exclusive deals from even happening with his artists after the whole Frank Ocean debacle. Other labels will likely follow.

How fucked is Tidal then? Depends. Earlier rumors claimed that Apple had been in talks with Tidal to buy it out. This morning, the tech giant denied those rumors, claiming it’s “really running our own race” and “not looking to acquire any streaming services” — but something along those lines isn’t unlikely. If Apple ever feels acquiring Tidal’s subscribers is worth the price, they’d easily fork over the cash to not only oust a competitor, but also scoop up its fans.

But why buy now when the premium is high? Wait a few more months of Tidal’s failings and the thing will be cleared out like last season’s sundries (bankruptcy sales are primo).

Twenty-sixteen is not going to be the year when streaming companies figure shit out. To be honest, 2017 isn’t looking hot either. 

One thing’s for sure, Tidal probably isn’t going to be around long enough to see what comes of it. Rest assured, however, someone somewhere is going to be making a bunch of money from it regardless. That’s how rich people work.

Us? We’re Googling promo codes to try and come up on a free sandwich. God bless America.