Jay Z's plan to use Rihanna to bail out his floundering music service has worked - for now


jay z

Evan Agostini / AP Images

Tidal's plan to use Rihanna to boost its user count has worked, at least in the short term.

Rihanna gave Jay Z-owned Tidal the exclusive rights to stream her new album, ANTI, for a week before it became available on services like iTunes and Spotify. This was coupled with a Samsung partnership that gave one million free ANTI download codes away, along with a 60-day free trial to Tidal.


The push seems to have paid off for Tidal. The app jumped from No. 147 in the US music category on Tuesday to No. 2 on Thursday (and No. 16 US overall). This is good news for a company whose initial pitch was that it could convince artists to bring exclusive content to the platform, and that the people would follow.

Here is a chart from App Annie:

Screen Shot 2016 01 29 at 9.39.52 AM

App Annie


Now it remains to be seen whether these new "customers" will continue beyond the free trial. But at least this uptick shows people haven't been scared off by a snafu earlier in January when Tidal accidentally took money from former customers who had canceled their subscriptions.

Or perhaps Rihanna is just a big enough draw to risk it.

Tidal has endured a slew of high-profile departures in the months since it was relaunched. The service has lost two CEOs, its chief investment officer, the US marketing manager, and the senior vice president of label and artist relations.


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