Kanye and Tidal – The Bigger Picture

It’s only been four days since the release of Kanye West’s highly anticipated album The Life of Pablo, yet the amount of news it has generated has been tremendous. Most importantly for fans, Yeezy says the album will “never be for sale”, and will only be available on Jay Z’s high definition, paid subscription streaming site Tidal.

A major flaw in this stunt is that Tidal is only available in 45 countries, leaving 151 (3/4 of the world) to only be able to access the album illegally. Therefore unsurprisingly, TorrentFreak claims that due to the album’s “limited availability” TLOP has already been downloaded over half a million times through torrenting sites like The Pirate Bay. It also reported that nearly 10,000 users were sharing one version simultaneously, “something [unseen] with a music release before”.

The fact that Kanye is pushing Tidal so hard through this release raises the question: how well Tidal is doing? Are people actually paying for this premium service over Apple Music and Spotify? Well if Google Trends is anything to go by, it seems Tidal merely goes through phases when their artists announce or release music. This can be seen in the graph below:

Image: Gizmodo

Image: Gizmodo

Through every recent announcement and release there has been a sharp downfall in searches soon after, which questions the longevity of the platform and whether Kanye’s move was smart or just plain stupid. The major drop in search rates since his announcement definitely implies that he may have bit of more than he could chew.

Despite Kanye’s efforts securing Tidal the position of the #1 free app on the American iTunes (still number 47 here in Aus), it still remains behind in the streaming war.

Illustrated in the graph below, Tidal faces a huge gap compared to the other majors, especially Spotify – Tidal (blue), Apple Music (yellow) and Spotify (red).

Image: Gizmodo

Image: Gizmodo

To keep up with it’s competitors, it looks like Tidal would therefore need to release their exclusive content regularly, something which would be extremely difficult to do.

It’ll definitely be interesting to see how everything pans out with both Kanye and Tidal; whether he decides to pull the plug on this stunt, we’ll have to wait and see.

To stream The Life of Pablo visit Tidal or

Image: MTV