Jay Z once rapped about how money ain’t a thang, but he might be feeling differently after TIDAL more than doubled its losses in the year since he took control of the music-streaming service. As the Wall Street Journal reports, the Swedish holding company Aspiro AB, which Jay Z and several other prominent musicians purchased in early 2015, recorded a net loss of 239 million Swedish kronor ($28 million) last year.
That’s not necessarily good news for a service that’s done everything it can to compete with the likes of bigger rivals Spotify and Apple Music. TIDAL’s marketing efforts have thus far centered on high-profile exclusive releases from artists such as Beyonce, Rihanna, and Kanye West, but even those haven’t helped the company turn a profit thus far. TIDAL’s revenue did rise 30% to 402 million Swedish kronor from 309 Swedish kronor, but Spotify continues to expand faster, doubling its revenue to 1.95 billion euros over the same time period.
That could spell serious trouble for TIDAL as the streaming wars continue to heat up. In June, TIDAL reported that it had expanded its user base to more than four million paying subscribers, but that number still pales in comparison to Spotify (40 million paying subscribers, according to today’s report) and Apple Music (17 million).
All things considered, the future for TIDAL looks shaky (at best), especially with Apple Music also aggressively pursuing exclusives with the likes of Drake and Frank Ocean. If that’s the only weapon left in Jay Z’s arsenal, it might not be enough, which may explain recent reports that the hip-hop mogul is in ongoing talks with Apple to sell the service. It makes a good deal of sense for the two companies to team up, as Spotify’s lead has ballooned over the last five months and its number of paying subscribers now nearly doubles both of its competitors combined.