It’s hard to imagine things getting much worse for Jay Z’s embattled music streaming platform Tidal. Despite a star-studded launch backed by some of the music industry’s biggest stars, fans have mostly given the platform a chilly reception. Artists who release content exclusively on Tidal risk being called greedy by wrathful fans and the service itself has been compared to a poorly designed Spotify clone.
Through it all, Jay Z has stuck to his guns, claiming that Tidal is the only platform that appropriately rewards artists while other streamers continue to rip them off for pennies. Fans have balked at the idea that millionaire recording artists like Taylor Swift and Madonna are somehow underpaid, but it seems the ultimate humiliation is yet to come. If Tidal can’t cough up some serious cash it’s going to lose streaming rights for some of its most prominent artists … including Jay’s own wife, Beyoncé.
According to Bloomberg, both Sony and Warner Music have asked Tidal for big advances in exchange for the right to stream their artists’ music. Tidal has apparently come to terms with Warner but hasn’t yet locked down a deal with Sony, the home of Beyoncé’s entire catalog. It also appears that Tidal may not have the cash to meet Sony’s demands since its rocky start has made potential investors like Sprint skittish.
Tidal boasts 900,000 users to date, but most of those users are still on free trials. Analysts suspect the bulk of those users will cancel their subscriptions when they’re asked to start paying and revert to free ad-supported platforms like Spotify, Pandora, and YouTube. With little income being generated by subscriptions and a sudden drop in investor confidence, Tidal might not be able to afford Sony’s demands. If Jay Z wants to hold on to his wife’s music, he might have to dig into his own impressively deep pockets for the cash to do it.
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