Apple Music rival Tidal may only have enough cash to run six months

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Tidal, the on-demand music service owned by rapper and businessman Jay-Z, could have as little as six months' worth of cash on hand, according to reports.




This is despite Sprint taking a 33 percent stake in the company in January in a deal worth $200 million, noted Norway's Dagens Naeringsliv, cited by Engadget. A Tidal document reportedly said the investment would give the service "sufficient working capital for the next 12-18 months."

The company has denied any suggestions of an impending collapse, and even said it expects to turn a profit by the middle of 2018. Its main competition -- Spotify -- has likewise struggled with profitability, but is also the world's most popular on-demand service and pumping much of its revenue back into growth.

"We have experienced negative stories about Tidal since its inception and we have done nothing but grow the business each year," a Tidal spokesperson told Engadget.

While functionally similar to Spotify and Apple Music, Tidal does offer a "HiFi" tier with lossless audio, and exclusives from artists like Jay-Z and Beyonce. It has also touted itself as paying artists higher royalties, which could help explain its financial difficulties.

Its greater problem however has been attracting subscribers in the face of intense competition. Dagens Naeringsliv has previously accused the company of lying about subscriber numbers, for instance saying that while Tidal publicly claimed 3 million subscribers in March 2016, internal reporting pegged the number at 1.2 million, and payments to record labels mentioned just 850,000. In September, Apple Music was announced as topping 30 million subscribers.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 21
    Couldn’t be happier to see Jay Z & Kanye’s little vanity project fail...
    I remember when Kanye tried to “bully” Tim into purchasing this service, by a series of nasty tweets.

    I just wish Sprint hadn’t got fleeced into purchasing this turd; giving the pompous investors actually a good return at their shareholder’s expense.
    magman1979boltsfan17baconstangrobin huberpeterhartwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 21
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,179member
    Wait, but wasn't Tidal "the biggest threat" to Apple Music not that long ago? 

    I have a feeling Spotify won't be able to sustain their business for much longer. I see an acquisition or something else soon. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 21
    I love that Tidal offers lossless & MQA formats. But in reality, Spotify's & Pandora's free bit rates are good enough for the vast majority of listening I do. IMHO, to really appreciate CD quality & higher, you need decent equipment and a decent listening environment (meaning quiet). I have such, but rarely have the time to dedicate to serious listening. While I'd love for Apple or one of the other major music streamers to offer CD & higher quality, I recognize such is the realm of enthusiasts - people willing to pay lots of $$$ for what others would consider minimal improvements in quality. e.g. Buying a dedicated subwoofer that goes down to 25Hz rather than using bookshelf speakers, or the speakers built into a TV.

    I think Tidal makes a mistake by not offering a free, ad supported tier - like Spotify. I've been using Spotify free for a few years and I am now very used to their UI and way things work. If I ever step up to subscribing to something, I'll most likely go with Spotify because I'm familiar with it, and I'm pretty happy with how it works.
    edited December 2017
  • Reply 4 of 21
    I can't see any business which totally relies on streaming music as being financially successful. It's just a poor business model with possibly too many competitors. I sure would hate to see Spotify and Pandora close shop. I don't stream much music but at the occasional times I do, I have to marvel at how convenient both of those services are. However, I don't know how any of them can compete with companies overflowing with cash with streaming music services only as a side-business.

    I don't know anything about Tidal and so I certainly wouldn't miss the service if it went away. It's unfortunate but there are always some companies that are bound to fail. With such a small number of subscribers it likely won't have the staying power to survive. An acquisition of the company is likely its best bet.
    edited December 2017
  • Reply 5 of 21
    jSnivelyjSnively Posts: 329administrator
    Comments have been removed to keep thread on topic. As per our policy we removed anything quoting or directly replying to the original -- apologizes if some perfectly fine responses got removed as well.
    edited December 2017
  • Reply 6 of 21
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,767member
    jasenj1 said:
    I love that Tidal offers lossless & MQA formats. But in reality, Spotify's & Pandora's free bit rates are good enough for the vast majority of listening I do. IMHO, to really appreciate CD quality & higher, you need decent equipment and a decent listening environment (meaning quiet). I have such, but rarely have the time to dedicate to serious listening. While I'd love for Apple or one of the other major music streamers to offer CD & higher quality, I recognize such is the realm of enthusiasts - people willing to pay lots of $$$ for what others would consider minimal improvements in quality. e.g. Buying a dedicated subwoofer that goes down to 25Hz rather than using bookshelf speakers, or the speakers built into a TV.

    I think Tidal makes a mistake by not offering a free, ad supported tier - like Spotify. I've been using Spotify free for a few years and I am now very used to their UI and way things work. If I ever step up to subscribing to something, I'll most likely go with Spotify because I'm familiar with it, and I'm pretty happy with how it works.
    Its free service is going to make Spotify bankrupt very soon so how on earth is it a mistake, Spotify is in a very deep hole and only cutting the free service will solve it.
    People like you that don't switch to paid is Spotify's bane cause ads are not even close to covering their meager cost of licensing  (yes it is that low).
  • Reply 7 of 21
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,963member
    And another one bites the dust....

    I can't see how Spotify can survive forever. I think they're basically funded from investors and its only a matter of time before they (the inventors) realize they're not going to get a good return on their investment, if they even get one. Unless...somehow Spotify can create something to offset their costs and losses. Apple can afford to lose money on Apple Music if it is indeed losing money as they have other products and services to more than make up for those losses. And, Apple can use Apple Music as a selling point for their other products. Spotify doesn't have this position as it stands now. Its a shame too because I do think Spotify does things better than Apple Music and Apple needs competition. Everyone needs constant competition, even Apple. 
  • Reply 8 of 21
    macxpress said:
    And another one bites the dust....

    I can't see how Spotify can survive forever. I think they're basically funded from investors and its only a matter of time before they (the inventors) realize they're not going to get a good return on their investment, if they even get one. Unless...somehow Spotify can create something to offset their costs and losses. Apple can afford to lose money on Apple Music if it is indeed losing money as they have other products and services to more than make up for those losses. And, Apple can use Apple Music as a selling point for their other products. Spotify doesn't have this position as it stands now. Its a shame too because I do think Spotify does things better than Apple Music and Apple needs competition. Everyone needs constant competition, even Apple. 
    I agree. Eventually Spotify will have to show a profit. Short term, Spotify is fine, but long term, they are going to have problems. I imagine someone will buy them out before it gets to that point. The only thing Spotify can do is raise subscription rates or negotiate lower royalty payments with the record labels. I know they negotiated lower royalty payments with Sony Music. I would hate to see Spotify disappear. I really like their iOS app and the Mac App. I use both all the time. I like Spotify better than Apple Music. 
  • Reply 9 of 21
    macguimacgui Posts: 1,454member
    jasenj1 said:
    I love that Tidal offers lossless & MQA formats. But in reality, Spotify's & Pandora's free bit rates are good enough for the vast majority of listening I do.
    This is true of ≥90 of people who listen to music, especially from their phone. They are not critical listeners so 'good enough' is good enough. This is the market that Apple is aiming at and why iTunes sells music at 256K bit-rate.
     
    iPhones and iPads can be used for critical listening though that varies among their products due to different DACs used over time. Macs also vary in output quality, but that can be remedied to varying degrees with an external DAC. Good speakers are a must, and an area of great subjectivity and personal bias/preference.

    A 25Hz sub is only part of the equation of actual fidelity is concerned, and can't replace a pair of decent bookshelf speakers; it can only augment them. And it's not where I'd start to improve my listening experience. But I think I know what you meant. A quiet listening environment is a must, whether achieved through a room or ear- or headphones that provide isolation (passive over active). But to a large percentage of that 90%, more bass is the only metric of 'fidelity' to be considered.

    Again, that's not the meat of Apple's market. So a business model that provides high-end only music files to a niche market is on thin ice to start. I'm not attracted to Tidal, or any subscription based model of any medium, so I wouldn't/won't miss them if/when they go.

    There are people who appreciate and people who think they can appreciate something more than 256 and 320kps MP3s. Just not enough, apparently, to sustain a music market aimed them.

    Pump it.
    edited December 2017 peterhart
  • Reply 10 of 21
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,875member
    They’ve also been sued by some artists who claim that Tidal hasn’t paid them. I know some people who subscribe to the lossless tier. It sounds good enough, I guess, but I can hear some differences between that and my Cds. I do wish Apple would offer ALAC downloads, or even Flack, now that they officially support it.
    numenorean
  • Reply 11 of 21
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,875member
    jasenj1 said:
    I love that Tidal offers lossless & MQA formats. But in reality, Spotify's & Pandora's free bit rates are good enough for the vast majority of listening I do. IMHO, to really appreciate CD quality & higher, you need decent equipment and a decent listening environment (meaning quiet). I have such, but rarely have the time to dedicate to serious listening. While I'd love for Apple or one of the other major music streamers to offer CD & higher quality, I recognize such is the realm of enthusiasts - people willing to pay lots of $$$ for what others would consider minimal improvements in quality. e.g. Buying a dedicated subwoofer that goes down to 25Hz rather than using bookshelf speakers, or the speakers built into a TV.

    I think Tidal makes a mistake by not offering a free, ad supported tier - like Spotify. I've been using Spotify free for a few years and I am now very used to their UI and way things work. If I ever step up to subscribing to something, I'll most likely go with Spotify because I'm familiar with it, and I'm pretty happy with how it works.
    I don’t like MQA. I’ve been at enough audio shows around the country where some vendors use it. But it’s almost impossible to get a comparison between MQA and a CD, much less the 24/96 it’s supposed to equal. But I’ve spoken to the two guys who run the company a number of times, and they’re rather squirmy when I try to get real technical answers out of them. Much of it is highly compressed, and you even lose something from the CD, in the bass, and high frequencies, which, with a good system, you can hear that.

    tidal doesn’t make it easy to determine whether something is MQA or not. You have to dig into the menu to find out.

    and without the special D/A for MQA, it definitely sounds worse than a CD, much less a 24/96.
    GG1jasenj1cornchip
  • Reply 12 of 21
    melgross said:
    jSnively said:
    Comments have been removed to keep thread on topic. As per our policy we removed anything quoting or directly replying to the original -- apologizes if some perfectly fine responses got removed as well.
    I don’t quite understand the second part.
    Threaded quotes got removed.  Not every response in the quotes was off topic or unacceptable.  Baby unfortunately went with the bathwater.  
    jSnivelycornchip
  • Reply 13 of 21
    Hope that pompous no-talent Kanye loses a bundle.  
    peterhartwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 21
    melgross said:
    jasenj1 said:
    I love that Tidal offers lossless & MQA formats. But in reality, Spotify's & Pandora's free bit rates are good enough for the vast majority of listening I do. IMHO, to really appreciate CD quality & higher, you need decent equipment and a decent listening environment (meaning quiet). I have such, but rarely have the time to dedicate to serious listening. While I'd love for Apple or one of the other major music streamers to offer CD & higher quality, I recognize such is the realm of enthusiasts - people willing to pay lots of $$$ for what others would consider minimal improvements in quality. e.g. Buying a dedicated subwoofer that goes down to 25Hz rather than using bookshelf speakers, or the speakers built into a TV.

    I think Tidal makes a mistake by not offering a free, ad supported tier - like Spotify. I've been using Spotify free for a few years and I am now very used to their UI and way things work. If I ever step up to subscribing to something, I'll most likely go with Spotify because I'm familiar with it, and I'm pretty happy with how it works.
    I don’t like MQA. I’ve been at enough audio shows around the country where some vendors use it. But it’s almost impossible to get a comparison between MQA and a CD, much less the 24/96 it’s supposed to equal. But I’ve spoken to the two guys who run the company a number of times, and they’re rather squirmy when I try to get real technical answers out of them. Much of it is highly compressed, and you even lose something from the CD, in the bass, and high frequencies, which, with a good system, you can hear that.

    tidal doesn’t make it easy to determine whether something is MQA or not. You have to dig into the menu to find out.

    and without the special D/A for MQA, it definitely sounds worse than a CD, much less a 24/96.
    I'm listening to Tidal as we speak. Streaming a CD quality track off the new Ranky Tanky album via a Bluesound Node2. I have decent equipment and do appreciate lossless streaming. I'm not up on the details of how MQA reduces bandwidth but both NAD and Bluesound are fans and they are pretty serious about audio quality.  Tidal's MQA streaming can be a bit dicey -- their servers don't always keep up. But it's pretty nice. When played through my best system (which is quite good actually) MQA can sound very good (try Tidal's MQA of Diana Krall's "Like Someone in Love" on a good system and you'll be impressed). The entire question of CD vs. HiRes is fraught. I have a dozen or more HiRes albums but the vast majority of my music is CD quality (ripped and stored in Apple Lossless format). Even under the best conditions it's hard to be sure there's much real difference between CD and 96/24 or god  help us 192/24. What differences I'm sure that I hear when playing the same albums back-to-back are probably due to difference in the mix, not the data rate/width. But subjectively 96/24 does seem to have a lower noise floor and clarity especially on female vocals. Again, probably the mix but I'm not sure.

    But all that aside, I do enjoy having a streaming service like Tidal that can at least deliver lossless CD quality music. I use it to explore music before I commit to buying it (like Ranky Tanky for example).  I find that I listen to more new music this way -- once you've paid for the month you might as well explore, right? There's a lot of hate for Tidal in this thread but if it goes under I'll be sad.
    jasenj1
  • Reply 15 of 21
    cornchipcornchip Posts: 1,389member
    Cue logo redesign in 3... 2... 
  • Reply 16 of 21
    melgross said:
    I do wish Apple would offer ALAC downloads, or even Flack, now that they officially support it.
    That's new to me. So I can now directly add FLAC files to my iTunes library? That's amazing news! Isn't there a size limit on songs that can be added to the iCloud Music Library? I may have a few FLAC files that may possibly exceed that.
  • Reply 17 of 21
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,875member
    JeffA2 said:
    melgross said:
    jasenj1 said:
    I love that Tidal offers lossless & MQA formats. But in reality, Spotify's & Pandora's free bit rates are good enough for the vast majority of listening I do. IMHO, to really appreciate CD quality & higher, you need decent equipment and a decent listening environment (meaning quiet). I have such, but rarely have the time to dedicate to serious listening. While I'd love for Apple or one of the other major music streamers to offer CD & higher quality, I recognize such is the realm of enthusiasts - people willing to pay lots of $$$ for what others would consider minimal improvements in quality. e.g. Buying a dedicated subwoofer that goes down to 25Hz rather than using bookshelf speakers, or the speakers built into a TV.

    I think Tidal makes a mistake by not offering a free, ad supported tier - like Spotify. I've been using Spotify free for a few years and I am now very used to their UI and way things work. If I ever step up to subscribing to something, I'll most likely go with Spotify because I'm familiar with it, and I'm pretty happy with how it works.
    I don’t like MQA. I’ve been at enough audio shows around the country where some vendors use it. But it’s almost impossible to get a comparison between MQA and a CD, much less the 24/96 it’s supposed to equal. But I’ve spoken to the two guys who run the company a number of times, and they’re rather squirmy when I try to get real technical answers out of them. Much of it is highly compressed, and you even lose something from the CD, in the bass, and high frequencies, which, with a good system, you can hear that.

    tidal doesn’t make it easy to determine whether something is MQA or not. You have to dig into the menu to find out.

    and without the special D/A for MQA, it definitely sounds worse than a CD, much less a 24/96.
    I'm listening to Tidal as we speak. Streaming a CD quality track off the new Ranky Tanky album via a Bluesound Node2. I have decent equipment and do appreciate lossless streaming. I'm not up on the details of how MQA reduces bandwidth but both NAD and Bluesound are fans and they are pretty serious about audio quality.  Tidal's MQA streaming can be a bit dicey -- their servers don't always keep up. But it's pretty nice. When played through my best system (which is quite good actually) MQA can sound very good (try Tidal's MQA of Diana Krall's "Like Someone in Love" on a good system and you'll be impressed). The entire question of CD vs. HiRes is fraught. I have a dozen or more HiRes albums but the vast majority of my music is CD quality (ripped and stored in Apple Lossless format). Even under the best conditions it's hard to be sure there's much real difference between CD and 96/24 or god  help us 192/24. What differences I'm sure that I hear when playing the same albums back-to-back are probably due to difference in the mix, not the data rate/width. But subjectively 96/24 does seem to have a lower noise floor and clarity especially on female vocals. Again, probably the mix but I'm not sure.

    But all that aside, I do enjoy having a streaming service like Tidal that can at least deliver lossless CD quality music. I use it to explore music before I commit to buying it (like Ranky Tanky for example).  I find that I listen to more new music this way -- once you've paid for the month you might as well explore, right? There's a lot of hate for Tidal in this thread but if it goes under I'll be sad.
    I’ve got a pretty good system. I can hear just about everything through it. I’ve never been convinced the hi res formats do much. I have a story about it, but it will take too much here to put it down completely. Suffice to say that a very famous recording engineer, who I knew did tests with different formats, using other engineers, producers, musicians, and others, including myself. None of us could hear differences beyond 18/48. All of the differences we hear in higher res is just from 16/44.1 to 18/48. The rest contributes nothing.

    There is a lot of imagination going on in the high end community. The placebo effect, confirmation bias and other psychological factors are in play, but they won’t admit it. Go to any demonstration of different Rez formats, and you notice that they always tell you the Rez you’re listening to before they play it. That’s because the presenters know it’s almost impossible to hear the differences, so they let you know what to think first.

    anyway, different rez’s are mastered differently, and those mastering differences are almost entirely what we’re hearing. I was a partner in a professional audio manufacturing company some time ago, and designed equipment. Because of that I was involved in recording for the Boston Symphany and London Records, among others. I’m pretty familiar with how things are done. Most hi Rez recordings are brought into the post studio and brought down to 24/48 to do the work. That’s because almost all professional equipment is still 24/48, because, behind closed doors, almost no one in the industry, except for a few hi end fanatics in the industry, believes that anything higher matters.

    so, often, when you buy a download that touted as being 24/96, or 24/192, while it may have been recorded that way, it’s often really 24/48, because once that data is thrown away, you can’t get it back.
    jasenj1
  • Reply 18 of 21
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,875member
    melgross said:
    I do wish Apple would offer ALAC downloads, or even Flack, now that they officially support it.
    That's new to me. So I can now directly add FLAC files to my iTunes library? That's amazing news! Isn't there a size limit on songs that can be added to the iCloud Music Library? I may have a few FLAC files that may possibly exceed that.
    I don’t know about size limits, and I’m not sure if macOS has it implemented as yet, as iOS does. All I can say is to try to directly add a FLAC file to iTunes and see if it plays. I don’t have any FLAC files right now so I can’t try it, and since I use ALAC, I haven’t cared, but some of my friends wouldn’t use iTunes because it didn’t.
    edited December 2017
  • Reply 19 of 21
    melgross said:

    There is a lot of imagination going on in the high end community. 
    No argument there! By the time most people (myself included) can afford a really decent system they're lucky if they can still hear much above 14khz. Doesn't mean that brutal cutoff filters aren't affecting signal in the audible range however. But that's a rabbit-hole discussion for another forum. 

  • Reply 20 of 21
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,875member
    JeffA2 said:
    melgross said:

    There is a lot of imagination going on in the high end community. 
    No argument there! By the time most people (myself included) can afford a really decent system they're lucky if they can still hear much above 14khz. Doesn't mean that brutal cutoff filters aren't affecting signal in the audible range however. But that's a rabbit-hole discussion for another forum. 

    Those filters haven’t been used for 20 years. It’s all digital filters. Those are much better. The worst effect is a very minor bit of pre ringing of a dB or so. I challenge anyone to claim they hear that in a real double blind test.
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