This probably isn’t the message Kanye West was hoping to send, but here it is. Tidal just isn’t big enough to support a major album. Weeks after its release as a Tidal exclusive, West’s latest album The Life of Pablo is expected to top the billboard charts for April 23.
This is not a victory for Tidal though, as the April 23 will include the first results from other streaming music services as well as purchases from both Tidal as well as West’s own website.
There is a way to spin this as good news for all streaming players though. Assuming Kanye’s album makes the top of the charts, it will have done so with almost no sales and almost all streaming.
“It should be the first Billboard chart-topper to get the majority of its album sale equivalents from streaming, not downloads or physical copies — yes, only a fraction of listeners likely had permanent copies. The achievement is somewhat arbitrary (you still can’t buy the album at places like iTunes), but it shows that on-demand listening is so popular that you don’t need downloads to create a hit.”