Has the Tidal backlash already begun?

Celebrity-backed music streaming service Tidal has already sailed in to choppy waters, with Twitter users already complaining about its expense and risk of piracy.

The service costs up to $19.99 per month and is billed as the first to offer "high fidelity sound quality, high definition music videos and expertly curated editorial."

It was launched on March 30 by multimillionaire rapper Jay Z, who has secured some exclusive content for subscribers, like acquiring the majority of Taylor Swift's records, who pulled her tracks from rival Spotify last November.

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Tidal is also promoting brand new and exclusive videos from singers Rihanna and Beyoncé. In addition, it features Jay Z's debut 1996 studio album "Reasonable Doubt"— considered his best by some fans — which has just disappeared from Spotify's service in the U.S. and Canada, just a week after the rapper launched Tidal.

While it is unclear whether Jay Z plans on removing the rest of his records from Spotify, Twitter fans are not happy with the rap star's latest move, with some tweeting that it's "political as usual", so that Tidal can gain more subscribers, whilst users like Jerry Burton commented that pulling it the album, doesn't change the fact that Tidal is still too expensive.

Tweet: Jay removed Reasonable Doubt from Spotify...but I can just buy it one-time for $10 n still save $10/month compared to Tidal...soooo...

Tweet: Jayz still think ppl want to listen to reasonable doubt so badly that theyll dump spotify for tidal?

Others pointed out that the songs still appear on Apple Beats, Amazon Prime, Rdio and YouTube, suggesting its more towards competing with Spotify in particular.

Jay-Z to relaunch music streaming service
Jay-Z to relaunch music streaming service

Music piracy fears

Despite the endorsement, some musicians have claimed that the expense of Tidal subscription could tempt listeners "back to pirate sites."

Last week, British pop singer, Lily Allen, went on a Twitter storm about how the premium service would increase music piracy, which she said the cheaper Spotify was helping subdue—its most expensive "premium" service costs subscribers £9.99 ($14.84) per month.

On March 30th, Allen tweeted that whilst she loved Jay Z, Tidal is "expensive compared to other perfectly good streaming services" and that he'd taken the biggest artists and "made them exclusive to TIDAL (am i right in thinking this?), people are going to swarm back to Pirate sites in droves… sending traffic to torrent sites."

"Up and coming (not yet millionaires) artists are going to suffer as a result," she added in a later tweet.

After tweeting, the singer was inundated by comments, with some Twitter users agreeing that the service was too expensive.

One user called Erica Burton replied: "I don't think jay z knows how much stuff costs. Like if I asked him for money to buy a banana he would give me $40."

Tweet: I don't think jay z knows how much stuff costs. Like if I asked him for money to buy a banana he would give me $40.


Jay Z faced a mixed response when unleashed the hashtag #TIDALforALL on Twitter to promote the service on March 30th, which offers over 25 million songs and 75,000 videos to those "who care about quality."

Co-founder of Simple as Milk, a "user-experience agency", James Seymour-Lock tweeted that it was "Ironic that these artists moan about pirated music then rip off @Spotify's hard work."

Twitter user Adam Bennett tweeted: "Tidal is way too expensive! $240 a year is absolutely ridiculous - it just makes the already rich even richer."

Other Twitter users adopted a new hashtag, #TIDALforNOONE, to criticize the service - and the paychecks of big-name musicians.

Tweet: I always love it when multimillionaires tell me how I should spend my money....on them. #TIDALforNOONE

Tweet: guys these artists need our help! they're really financially struggling! it's time to turn the tide #TIDALforALL

Tidal is 'not here to compete'

To address the backlash, Tidal's chief investment officer and industry liaison, Vania Schlogel, spoke to music news website Billboard on April 1st, saying there was "some bravery for what these artists are trying to do (by putting their content on Tidal). It's not to fill their own pockets; it's to create a sustainable industry."

In a Q&A session at the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music, in New York on April 1st, Jay Z saying that Tidal was "really not here to compete with anyone," but instead aimed to "improve the landscape."

He added that if Tidal encouraged competing services to follow suit and improve their payment structure, then "We've been successful in one way."

Read MoreJay Z's Tidal trumps Spotify by streaming Taylor Swift's music