It’s been some rough seas so far for Jay Z’s new streaming service Tidal.
The mogul purchased the company from Swedish parent Aspiro for $56 million in January, believing music streaming is where the industry is headed. (Money generated from streaming shot up 39 percent last year, helping digital music match physical sales for the first time.)
But after a brief spike in interest following its star-studded relaunch on March 30, Tidal, on Tuesday (April 21), was the 872nd most downloaded iPhone app in the United States, and the 51st among music apps, according to AFP.
Sweden, Tidal’s original home, was the only country where it entered the top five list for downloaded apps, according to tracking service App Annie.
The Internet radio provider Pandora was the most downloaded music app in the U.S., with Spotify — seen as the rival targeted by Tidal — not far behind.
Tidal markets itself as a high-end alternative, using larger file sizes than Spotify and charging $19.99 — twice as much as its rival — for the full service.
Tidal also bills itself as artist-centered, amid charges that Spotify has insufficiently compensated musicians. At the relaunch of Tidal in New York, Jay Z brought out stars said to be partners in the service including Madonna, Kanye West, Daft Punk and Beyonce — Jay Z’s wife, who later released a love ballad for him exclusively on Tidal.
But several artists have publicly criticized the roll-out, saying that Jay Z contradicted his own message of supporting artists by making it appear as if some of the world’s biggest musicians wanted more money.
“When they say it’s artist-owned, it’s owned by those rich, wealthy artists,” Marcus Mumford, the frontman of Mumford & Sons, charged in a recent interview with The Daily Beast, which said that the band members responded to the mention of Tidal with “a series of loud fart sounds.”
Tidal last week replaced its CEO and announced layoffs, although it said it was also hiring for new positions.