"Like Spotify, but you have to pay for it" hasn't turned out to be a great business model for Tidal, the music service Jay Z and other superstar co-owners relaunched last month. After a month, the service has already dropped out of the iPhone top 700 download chart, and the company's CEO has been replaced in what it describes as a "streamlining" move, the Guardian reports. Rivals Pandora and Spotify, meanwhile, have surged ahead and are now both in the top four of the US iPhone revenue chart, which Tero Kuittinen at BGR believes is partly because Tidal's fierce criticism of other music services raised public awareness of them.
Many commentators blame the flop on the mixed message Tidal sent in having A-listers launch a music service that promised to give artists more money. Next time artists like Jay Z "pitch something for the good of starving artists," Los Angeles Times music critic Randall Roberts writes, "they probably shouldn't do it while in a mansion holding champagne flutes and toasting their gold-leafed good fortune." Tidal backer Kanye West mysteriously deleted his tweets on the service last night, reports Entertainment Tonight, but in a Paper magazine cover story, he defends it in his own way. Tidal is not an Illuminati front, he insists. "I'm tired of people pinpointing musicians as the Illuminati," he writes. "That's ridiculous. We don't run anything; we're celebrities." (This band apparently hates Tidal, and this huge star had apparently never heard of it before it launched.)