Tidal is reportedly on life support.
Jay-Z’s on-demand music streaming service reportedly only has enough cash to support itself for the next six months, according to Norweigan newspaper Dagens Næringsliv. The company reportedly lost NOK368 million ($44 million) before taxes in 2016, and it appears the boost it received in January, when Sprint spent $200 million for a 33-percent stake in the service, wasn’t enough. At the time, Juan Perez, Jay-Z’s partner and Roc Nation Sports president, said the investment would give them enough capital to continue operating for 12 to 18 months.
Finding a foothold in the increasingly competitive music streaming space hasn’t been easy for Tidal. Pegged as the artist-owned alternative to Spotify for people who care about music quality, the service has remained a niche player in the industry even after Jay-Z and other renowned artists purchased the service in 2015.
“We have experienced negative stories about Tidal since its inception and we have done nothing but grow the business each year,” a company spokesperson told the Daily Dot in what appears to be a reference to its contentious subscriber numbers.
It’s unclear how many people use the service. In 2015, Dagens Næringsliv suggested Jay-Z inflated its user base just days after the Sprint purchase finalized. The rapper and producer said the service had 1 million members but the newspaper said there were only around 350,000 subscribers. Six months later, Tidal said it had 3 million members, but again, Dagens Næringsliv refuted that claim, estimating a total of just 1 million subscribers.
Earlier this year, I gave Tidal the worst odds of any mainstream music service to survive into 2018. While it does look poised to limp into the new year, it may not survive much longer.