After a year of mostly-negative headlines around streaming service Tidal, today there’s some good news to report.
This morning, Tidal is riding high in Apple’s US top-grossing apps chart: in fifth place, it’s making more money (on iOS) than Candy Crush Saga, Pandora and Netflix.
At the time of writing, Tidal is the fifth top-grossing app on the store, behind only Clash Royale, Game of War, Spotify and Clash of Clans:
What’s happening here? One explanation is people converting from 30-day free trials that they signed up to in mid-February when Kanye West released his ‘The Life of Pablo’ album exclusively on Tidal.
The separate ‘free apps’ App Store chart showed a big spike for Tidal downloads then, and at first glance that appears to have now led to a spike in paid in-app subscriptions.
At one point yesterday, Tidal was out-grossing Spotify in the US App Store, although it’s since fallen behind again.
A chart published by research firm SensorTower shows the peaks and troughs of Tidal’s App Store top-grossing ranking, relating to them to conversions from specific releases from West, Rihanna and Beyoncé:
The only thing undermining this theory, however, is the fact that free Tidal trialists didn’t *have* to convert this week: Engadget reports that these users have been emailed with a 30-day extension to their trials to tie in with West updating ‘The Life of Pablo’ with new tracks.
It’s still unclear exactly what’s going on here: did some people have their trials extended while others moved automatically into an in-app subscription on iOS?
How many of the latter will pay for one month and then cancel? – a question previously asked about Apple Music when Apple announced subscriber figures within the first month after its three-month trial ended.
And what will Tidal need to do to create more conversion spikes once the fervour around ‘Anti’ and ‘The Life of Pablo’ has died down?
Drawing any firm conclusions about any app’s success from a single day’s App Store rankings in one country – albeit an important one – is a fool’s game.
Tidal’s task is to keep itself in the upper reaches of that chart (while, obviously, also bringing in subscriptions on platforms beyond iOS) in the longer term, just as Spotify and Pandora have done over the past year.
But if Kanye West’s new album is turning enough trial users into paying subscribers to overhaul Candy Crush Saga for a short time at least, it’s a notable development. Tidal’s challenge now is to keep the momentum going.