Jay Z sounded just a tad defensive Sunday, tweeting up a 39-minute storm of support for his recently re-launched music streaming app Tidal.
The service is already struggling and its problems are many. Tidal CEO Andy Chen left the company earlier this month, it’s undergone layoffs and hardly anyone is using it.
After rising to No. 19 on the list of hottest iPhone app downloads after Jay Z took over last month, Tidal has seen a steep drop while more established rival services like Pandora, Spotify and Apple’s Beats Music are surging. On top of that, one of Jay Z’s original supporters, Kanye West, has deleted all mentions of the service from his Twitter feed.
Jay Z’s rarely used Twitter handle warned that the rant was coming, when he tweeted: “Stream of consciousness coming in 5, 4, 3, 2…” He followed it up with a tweet saying, “We’re here for the long haul,” adding, “The iTunes Store wasn’t built in a day. It took Spotify 9 years to be successful…”
Tidal launched last year and was bought by Jay Z in January for a reported $56 million. He relaunched the app at a star-studded gathering on March 30. Tidal is seen as a rival to Spotify, though it doesn’t have a free, ad-supported version. Standard definition streaming starts at $9.99 a month, and a high definition audio version goes for $19.99.
The service is aiming to differentiate itself from competitors like Spotify by locking down exclusive streaming windows with artists. Beyoncé recently released an exclusive track on the service to coincide with her and Jay Z’s seventh wedding anniversary.
Despite its lofty goals, Tidal has been hit with a barrage of criticism, not just from fans, but from performers alike, including Death Cab for Cutie singer Ben Gibbard.
“I think they totally blew it by bringing out a bunch of millionaires and billionaires and propping them up onstage and then having them all complain about not being paid,” Gibbard said in an interview with The Daily Beast.
Gibbard was apparently unimpressed with Tidal’s star-studded launch which featured Madonna, Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, Kanye West, Usher and Deadmau5, as well as J. Cole and Mrs.
Despite the backlash, Jay Z maintains that the company will be alright, tweeting: “Tidal is doing just fine. We have over 770,000 subs. We have been in business less than one month.” He also blamed rival companies for some of Tidal’s troubles. “There are many big companies that are spending millions on a smear campaign,” he tweeted.
Below is the music mogul’s lengthy Twitter defense of Tidal.