Can Tidal Win?

Can Tidal Win?

It seems like the music industry is catching up to its consumers’ demands by finally adapting to streaming services. Like Napster and iTunes in the early 00s (guilty LimeWire user here), there’s a lot of debate over music streaming, not only as a business model, but also as a product/service.

Recently, Jay Z announced the release of his new music streaming service Tidal to much fanfare…and can I say backlash? Can Tidal survive the backlash?

A question many are asking is can Tidal compete not just with Spotify and Pandora, but also with a giant tech company like Apple. Apple recently announced its new streaming service, and it doesn’t necessarily revolutionize the industry as Apple had done previously with iTunes circa 1999/2000. Even with an endorsement from Drake, there’s not much that would stop me from using Spotify or SoundCloud. As of now, Spotify and SoundCloud provide me with all the music streaming I need. There’s nothing gained from subscribing to neither Tidal nor Apple Music. (Even though two hip hop rivals on competing services can lead to a very entertaining rap battle.)

Can Tidal follow Netflix’s blueprint and have a comeback? Streaming seems to be the way media is being consumed now. Yes, Netflix has survived it’s little snafu. But a portion of its comeback story can be accredited to its established customer base. In other words, it had something to comeback from. Plus, Netflix has a clear value proposition. It provides us with instant and more economical options that certain cable services cannot. This is the same concept Tidal has to grasp. What can Tidal provide that its competitors cannot?

Like Netflix, Tidal does offer exclusive content. However, there’s no such thing as exclusive. Again, give your customers what they want, when they want it and how they want it. Since your service is relatively new, have your exclusive content hosted on your platform for free, encouraging viewers to subscribe.

There was a lot of publicity surrounding the announcement of Tidal. But sometimes publicity isn’t enough. Artist like Kanye West, Nicki Minaj and Coldplay all participated in its announcement. They even signed what appeared to be a declaration. (All a publicity stunt.) And most of that publicity focused on how Tidal’s new business model will benefit the artists. Here’s some word of advice: No one cares about your business model. And by no one, I mean your potential customers. Don’t market to us how your product is going to help you. Focus on how your product/service will help improve your customers’ lives. Not yours.

The big question: Can Tidal Win? Of course, it can. Like Jay Z said, “The iTunes Store wasn’t built in a day.” So, how can Tidal win? By finding its value and marketing that value to its potential customers. And what is that value? I don’t know. But I’m sure Jay Z will figure it out.