By Victor Ochieng
Business mogul and rapper Jay Z may have hoped his music streaming service Tidal would be a business boom, but that isn’t the case after the service reported $28 million in losses in its 2015 financial results. The service has also been troubled with late payments since March last year, a development that has cast aspersions on its future.
The said loss, which was posted by Tidal’s parent group Aspiro, was reported by Dagens Naeringsliv, a Norwegian business daily. The daily learned of the serious losses after it conducted an in depth assessment of the accounts of the Swedish company.
To those who don’t know, Tidal is Aspiro’s core holding, meaning the loss points out what’s happening within the corridors of the music streaming service.
Dagens Naeringsliv further revealed that Tidal has been faced with close to 100 late payment warnings since the 45-year-old rapper bought the service for a sum of $56 million through his Project Panther Bidco in March last year.
The newspaper also reported that the company still had $438,000 in outstanding payments.
With the business not going very well, Jay Z’s lawyer has apparently accused the previous owners of the streaming service, including Norwegian media company Schibsted, of overstating the count of subscribers of the service ahead of the sale of the company to his client. The former owners have, however, denied the claim.
Tidal recently made headlines after reports came out that Apple was in negotiations with the streaming service’s owners for a possible purchase to boost its Apple Music streaming service. The service also gained popularity after singer Beyoncé, Jay Z’s wife, released her “Lemonade” album exclusively on the platform.
Tidal has been reaping big by promoting exclusive albums. Some of the artists who have released their albums exclusively on the service are Kanye West and Rihanna.
According to the company, the number of subscribers of its service had risen to more than 3 million by March this year, representing an increase of around 2.5 million from the time it was re-launched in the U.S. last year.
Billboard reported that close to 1.35 million users (45%) had subscribed for the service’s “hi-fidelity” premium package that goes for $19.99 per month. The rest of the customers had signed up for the $9.99 subscription.
Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” album came as a huge boost to the service, with estimates putting new subscriptions after the exclusive release of the album on Tidal to about 1.2 million, meaning the platform could now be boasting about 4.2 million subscribers. Official figures are yet to be released though.
Tidal still trails Spotify and Apple Music, the leading streaming services that boast of 30 million and 11 million subscribers respectively.