If you guessed that it would be expensive for a small streaming service like Tidal to compete with heavyweights like Apple and Spotify, especially through exclusives... you guessed correctly. Tidal's parent company, Aspiro, has reported a $28 million loss for 2015, the year Jay-Z bought it. That's more than twice the $10.4 million loss it chalked up in 2014. While the Wall Street Journal understands that this doesn't include all US financial data (it's not a "complete picture"), it's not exactly flattering. That's particularly true when Tidal didn't have a guaranteed source of funding going into 2016.
Tidal has certainly had some success in the Jay-Z era, having racked up 4.2 million paid subscribers as of June. You can likely attribute some of that to customers sticking around after listening to streaming exclusives from the likes of Beyoncé, Kanye and Prince. However, the loss underlines the challenge it faces adding more listeners. Apple and Spotify both have larger war chests to spend on exclusives, and much larger customer bases to boot -- Apple Music has picked up 17 million paying users in 15 months, while Spotify has over 30 million. Tidal may have to work overtime (whether it's scoring more exclusives or marketing itself) if it wants to turn a profit while maintaining a high profile.