Tidal Tops Apple App Store Thanks to Kanye West’s Meltdown Plea

Fans with iPhones download Tidal’s app rampantly after West launches album exclusively there, but subscriptions may not be keeping up

Tidal rose to the top of Apple’s App Store after Kanye West launched his new album exclusively on the service with a plea for customers on Twittter.

The subscription streaming service, which is owned by music megastars like Jay Z and West, was listed as the top free app in Apple’s charts Monday after West asked “all music lovers” to subscribe to Tidal because he decided to hold off selling his album outright for a week.

However, other signs suggested that the app’s download popularity wasn’t translating to a similar fervor for subscriptions — and that the popularity was limited among U.S. iPhone owners.

Though Tidal was the most downloaded free app, Apple’s store listed it as the 31st “top grossing” app. That means more people were downloading it than signing up for subscriptions there. The app is free to download but Tidal requires a $10- to $20-a-month subscription to listen to music. Fans can purchase those subscriptions in the app itself, which would help raise it in the “grossing” ranks.

By comparison, rival subscription music service Spotify, which also requires a $10 subscription to listen to music ad-free on mobile devices, was the third highest grossing app in the ranking Monday.

In addition, app tracker App Annie showed Tidal was far from being the most popular free app among people with Android devices who download their programs from Google’s app store. Tidal was ranked at No. 301 Monday for free apps in the Google Play Store in the U.S.

In the midst of a dayslong head-scratching tweet storm that included an admission of $53 million in personal debt and pleas to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg for $1 billion, West appeared NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” after which he released his new album, “The Life of Pablo,” two days behind schedule on Tidal.

Sunday, he pleaded with fans to sign up.