There is a lot of big news today from Tidal, most of which you can find in our excellent feature piece. The company has nearly doubled its user base since it relaunched under the ownership of Jay Z and his cadre of musical stars. Today it's rolling out new desktop apps for Mac and PC, and announcing an integration with Ticketmaster that will let users access exclusive concerts.
Can access to live performances make a difference?
The desktop app has a familiar layout, identical to the web player it already released. The main difference from Spotify is that the featured selection includes a handful of videos and tracks with big "exclusive" banners, including a new cut from Lil Wayne, who just signed with Tidal today. Tidal lets you poke around here even if you haven't paid, but you can't play anything without subscribing. In the coming weeks it plans to announce a new price tier, $4.99, available to current college students.
There are still some important features missing from the desktop app, like the ability to store music for offline playback, but Tidal says that is coming soon. The real test will be whether Tidal can maintain its growth after the initial burst of curiosity and star power wears off, and with titans like Apple set to jump into the fray next week.
Tidal's margins are likely way above industry average
While many critics have suggested the service must be bleeding money, it now has 900,000 paid users, and 200,000 Hi-Fi subscribers that shell out $20 a month. Those customers might actually be quite profitable, compared to the very low margin subscribers that make up most of Spotify's subscribers, giving the company a cash cushion to continue its industry-changing crusade.