New York (AFP) – Tidal, the streaming service led by Jay-Z that launched to a mixed reception a year ago, said Tuesday it has climbed up to three million subscribers.
Tidal, which last revealed its subscription base at one million in September, said in a statement marking its one-year anniversary that it now has three million members in 46 countries.
Aimed at taking a slice of the booming market for streaming, which offers unlimited, on-demand music, Tidal has sought to differentiate itself from rivals led by Spotify by offering exclusives, higher-quality audio files and video content.
Among its successes, Tidal exclusively released the latest album by rap superstar Kanye West and has become the primary online home for Prince, who has delighted in the newfound artistic control.
But Tidal was widely derided for the optics of the March 30, 2015 press conference that announced the relaunch of the service, which Jay-Z bought for $56 million from Swedish-listed company Aspiro.
Tidal vowed to change streaming to benefit artists, although the press conference was led by some of the richest names in music such as Madonna, West and Jay-Z’s wife Beyonce.
Whatever the public relations struggle, Tidal insisted it has made good on its promises and that it has featured 1,000 tracks by unsigned artists.
Tidal offers music on more advanced Flac files, but at $19.99 a month in the United States, the subscription for the high-end tier is twice the cost of most streaming sites.
Spotify, based in Sweden, is by far the largest streaming site and last week said it had reached 30 million paying subscribers worldwide.
Spotify has previously said it has more than 75 million users when including its advertising-backed free tier, which is controversial among artists.
Apple Music, launched in June by the tech giant, has quickly become the second leading force in streaming, and said last month it had 11 million subscribers.
Paris-based Deezer, which is strong in continental Europe, says it has six million paying subscribers while Rhapsody, the streaming pioneer established in 2001, had 3.5 million as of December.