Sprint already owns a significant portion of Tidal.
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There have been numerous reports that Tidal has been hemorrhaging money for at least the last 1-2 years. In part, that's due to the subscription cost being so high. In any event, Apple and Spotify dominate the streaming market and Tidal is a bit player (pun intended).
Sprint owns 33% of Tidal and Sprint itself is owned by a Japanese bank. Plans for a merger of Sprint and T-Mobile (owned by Deutsche Telephone) were quashed under the Obama administration, but have recently been revived as Trump is viewed as more "pro-business" (or more anti-competition).
Music streaming isn't a major consideration for Tidal's owners (Jay-Z included). Sprint, presumably by appealing to the "millenial" contingent by oh-so-cool advertisements for hiphop streaming music, the corporate "suits" hoped to increase their subscriber base. It hasn't succeeded for Sprint. T-Mobile has expanded, but only by disengaging from "traditional" cellular contracts and data caps.
Jay-Z hasn't been able to figure it out: that's obvious. Unless Tidal's other owners can write off losses or somehow capitalize on hifi streaming, I suspect it's soon to be dead, MQA or no.
None of the streaming services have ever turned a profit. When Spotify was preparing for their IPO a few months ago, they publicized their prediction that, in 2018 they would turn the corner and start turning a profit.
A few weeks ago metrics for the music industry were published and downloaded content declined, while CDs and vinyl held their own, the increases were all on the streaming side.
I suspect that the business of streaming music will follow the video streaming companies, and start raising their prices. They'll need to, to stay in business. A few months ago Netflix added a few bucks a month to their price; there were some negative comments for a few days, but I'd be surprised if they lost that many subscribers as a result of the price increase.
It's hard to see Tidal succeeding in the long term. There just isn't a strong enough value prop over Spotify for most users. All of my friends at work (tech millennials) have Spotify, I'm not aware of a single Tidal user except the fringe audiophiles.
Re: what will happen to MQA, everyone does realize that MQA is just lossy compression + DRM of high-res content into a roughly standard-res stream, yes? We won't be losing anything SQ wise if the format goes away, just convenience. A service could easily come along and stream 24/96 FLAC, for instance. Whether there's a business case for that (or MQA for that matter) is another question.
@grannyring right, MQA does certainly sound better than Spotify’s highest quality (320kbps MP3). We would lose the only practical "audiophile-quality" streaming service if Tidal goes away. Will enough people care, at least from a business perspective? I doubt it - our niche isn’t nearly big enough to support a music service at the scale needed for it to have market value.
Sorry Tidal is NOT the only audiophile quality streaming service out there.
Deezer is also up at red book CD at 16/44.
Admittedly no MQA level but miles ahead of Spotify or Pandora.
Then we also have Quboz ready to launch in the USA soon.
I certainly hope Tidal survives in one shape or form but there ARE other hirez options.
MQA is not something I think is valuable based on my listening. Hit or miss in terms of sound quality. However, Tidal overall has wonderful sound. So good I sold my big dollar CD player and all my CDs. I just stream now with some 1000 ripped CDs. I planned to never buy a CD again, but that will change if Tidal goes away. 😒
I am a huge Tidal fan with Roon. Together I am getting the best SQ I have ever had. I will be in distress if Tidal goes away 😂
Has anyone else found 16/44 Tidal on Roon doesn't sound as good as the same track ripped and served locally by Roon? My wife actually noticed this - we were playing an orchestral piece and she commented the sound was anemic and lacking, "something's wrong." I realized she had clicked on it in Tidal, and when I switched to the ripped local copy she said it was better again. They were both 16/44, so no MQA involved.
I hear you on TidalBut I think Deezer is a worthy alternative and hopefully Quboz will be another good option when it finally launches in the USA.
Not sure how either of those integrate with Roon as I do not use it.
I have to say though in my rig to my ears, MQA is usually audibly better but just my opinion.