US rap mogul Jay Z launched his music streaming service Tidal just one month ago, with the help of his famous A-list friends like Madonna, Usher, Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, Alicia Keys and Kanye West, as well as superstar wife Beyonce.
Guess what else?
It's already been declared a bomb.
Over the past week, big time media outlets have been piling on Tidal like rugby players piling on top of another rugby player from the opposing team.
E! News reported on the service last Tuesday saying, "Jay Z's Tidal App Flops: Music Streaming Service Drops Out of iTunes' Top 700 Chart".
The Guardian followed up the next day with, "Jay Z's music-streaming service Tidal struggles despite celebrity fanfare". That's some bad press.
Of course, Jay Z, being Jay Z, wasn't going to take this lying down.
This is a guy who was convicted of third-degree assault for stabbing a record producer back in 1999.
Fortunately, he doesn't appear to be stabbing anyone this time around.
Now his weapon of choice is Twitter, which doesn't seem quite as gangsta.
Earlier this week, Jay Z started tweeting like crazy about how Tidal is being undermined by big media companies threatened by its awesomeness.
"There are many big companies that are spending millions on a smear campaign."
He went on: "We made Tidal to bring people the best experiences...and to help artists give that to their fans over and over again..."
I'm no expert in the business of music streaming, but just as a music consumer I think I might have some idea as to why Tidal seems to be floundering.
I actually downloaded the app from the Apple App Store earlier yesterday and the thing that struck me right away is that there is no free content at all.
The moment you try to listen to a song or watch a video, it asks you to confirm a subscription.
You do get a "one month free trial", but then the paid subscription kicks in automatically and the subscriptions aren't cheap.
You pay $14 per month for a Standard Sound Quality subscription, and $28 a month for a Lossless High Fidelity Sound Quality subscription.
You can't try out the service and see if you like it before subscribing. I don't know if I'd ever subscribe to any app with that sort of policy.
The other problem with Tidal is that during the launch, there was all this nonsense about how it is better for artists than Spotify, about how they'd get a bigger cut of the revenue.
Newsflash: We don't care about the artists. At all. Not even a bit.
Especially not artists like Jay Z, Kanye West and Taylor Swift.
Last year, according to Forbes, Swift made US$64 million (S$85 million). That's US$175,342.47 per day. PER DAY.
The simple fact is, these people don't see money the way normal humans see money.
Believe it or not, Emperors and Empresses of Pop, a $30 subscription might seem a bit expensive to someone not making $175,342.47 a day.
This article was first published on April 29, 2015.
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