Business

Tidal's Global Revenue Rose to $148M in 2018

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The U.K.-based parent company of Jay-Z's Tidal streaming service, Project Panther Bidco, grew global revenues by 26.4% year-on-year to $147.6 million in 2018, according to new documents filed with the UK Companies House.

Project Panther -- which owns Aspiro Group, which in turn owns Tidal -- credits that growth to exclusive content releases (like The Carter's Everything Is Love) and new distribution deals in Western and Eastern Europe, as well as Latin America. Tidal, which Jay-Z founded in 2014, is now available in 54 countries worldwide. 

The filing notes that in the U.S., Tidal also expanded its partnership with Sprint in 2018 with a new bundled subscription plan. But despite its global revenue growth, the company's U.S. revenues fell from $71.5 million in 2017 to $57.4 million in 2018, representing a 19.7% dip.

Even so, a representative for Tidal clarified to Billboard that the filing highlights incoming revenue as it aligns with Tidal’s internal finance structure, not the origins of subscribers -- and that U.S. subscribers and underlying revenue actually increased in calendar year 2018, though the representative would not say by how much.

The company recorded a gross profit of $44.7 million in 2018, compared to $34.4 million in 2017, while enduring a net loss of $36.9 million -- slightly less than 2017's $40.2 million. 

The financial docs also show that 97.7% of the company's revenues come from subscriptions (roughly $144.3 million), with the rest coming from sponsorship ($3.4 million). Tidal claims to have more than 60 million songs and 250,000 videos in its catalog.

Additionally, the filing notes, "the Group continues to invest in technological and marketing platforms, with significant enhancements to its product in the form of new user-friendly features (such as algorithmic mixes), new advanced sound capabilities and expanded performance-based growth and retention marketing.”

Tidal made several such moves in 2019 that could factor into its next filing. It boosted personalized user offerings with the new "My Video Mix" playlist, added integrations with Instagram Stories and Facebook Stories, and introduced a credits page to highlight producers, songwriters and more. In December, it launched a discounted subscription tier for college students.

Tidal also saw changes in leadership last year: In October, it promoted Tony Gervino to executive vp/editor-in-chief, and Elliott Wilson to chief content officer.

Project Panther employed an average of 238 people in 2018, according to the filing, including seven as directors and key management. In 2017, those counts were 209 and seven. Key management received $2 million in 2018, up slightly from $1.9 million in 2017.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include clarification from a Tidal representative regarding U.S. revenues.