TIDAL believes Rihanna is changing how fans consume music.


If numbers are your thing, you’ll be excited about this.

Just 24 hours after it debuted, Rihanna’s album is officially Platinum certified, meaning it received more than 1 million downloads. 1.4 million downloads in 15 hours, to be exact, and it’s sparking the conversation of how music is distributed and what kind of shift the music industry could expect in 2016.

“When we started this campaign, we expected this to take a week,” Grace Kim, TIDAL’s director of Marketing told SPIN of how TIDAL predicted Rihanna’s ANTi would fare. Instead, they moved “1.4 million in not 24 hours but 15 hours,” she continued. “That’s a really big deal for us.”

Kim added the initial leak of the record hours before it was officially released didn’t hurt, but could they really know for sure? “Look, we know what happened here, in the sense that unfortunately we still rely on systems, and there was a system error. But I don’t think it hurt it at all.”

The RIAA is recognizing this milestone, however Billboard and Nielsen will not. “There were conversations [with Billboard] early on when this promotion and partnership started, but ultimately it became about giving music directly to the fans,” Kim said. “While everyone would’ve love to have it count, the thing that we’re focused on here is that it’s No. 1.”

Kim boasts Rihanna’s massive numbers, but fails to see the bigger picture. When TIDAL launched last year, it’s business model initiative pushed for artists behind-the-scenes – the songwriters and producers who play a heavy hand in a song’s creation – to receive more compensation than any of the streaming competitors like Spotify and later Apple Music. Rihanna’s name alone surely could move a million free downloads in a day, but what if it was offered at a price? How are these songwriters and producers benefitting from this? Kim goes on…

“This is the new model. The new model is about how many fans are we getting the music to. Soon enough everyone else with have to come along for the ride. We believe this is just the beginning of how we market albums, how we distribute music to fans, how fans consume music. It’s just a different way of thinking.”

We love to save our coins like anyone, but is pushing a business model where fans are offered music for free really in our best interest?