Back when the music industry was being ravaged by piracy and the slow demise of the compact disc, Kjarten Slette and Thomas Walle wrote business-school papers about turning things around. After graduation the two got a chance to test their theories as top executives at a Norwegian streaming music service that made its debut in 2010, not long after Spotify appeared in neighbouring Sweden.
You may have heard of their startup, Tidal, even though it hasn’t flourished.The also-ran streaming service achieved pop-star status after Jay Z purchased the company for US$56 million in 2015 and vowed to use it as a vehicle to revolutionize the music business. But the rapper-turned-mogul didn’t deliver on his grandiose vision.
Despite exclusive steaming releases of big albums, including his wife Beyoncé’s “Lemonade,” Jay Z’s Tidal had amassed only 4.2 million subscribers by May 2016, the most recently available figure. Spotify claims more than 100 million active users, 40 million of whom pay to use its service. Apple Music, a distant No. 2 among streaming services, had 17 million subscribers as of September.
Source: Financial Post