A free giveaway of Rihanna's new album "Anti" netted Jay Z's struggling Tidal music streaming service a cool 1 million subscribers in less than a day. Whether the service can convert the new users into paying subscribers, however, remains to be seen.
It looks as if Rihanna was the "Only Girl (In The World)" that could bring 1 million subscribers to Tidal in less than a day, because that's exactly what happened on Thursday after the album was released exclusively on the music streaming service and offered free to the first million who applied for a special download code. That code also came with a two-month free trial of the streamer.
Tidal just surpassed its millionth subscriber in October and celebrated with a huge New York City concert featuring a bevy of top artists including Beyoncé, Tidal owner Jay Z, Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne, Usher, and T.I.
The streamer has essentially doubled that number in a less than a day with the giveaway of Rihanna's highly anticipated fifth album. As we reported, Tidal debuted the first single "Work" earlier this week, and accidentally leaked the album briefly, along with its 13-song track list. Apparently that error pushed the album release day up a bit, and by Thursday the giveaway was announced.
By midday, all the download codes were gone, which leads one to wonder how many more subscribers Tidal would have actually gained if the number of free codes wasn't capped at a million. The question, however, is whether those million "subscribers" will actually use their 60-day free trial subscription at all, because it was included automatically with the download. We suspect a good portion of those downloading the album will hit and run, never to check out Tidal again now that Rihanna's new disc is firmly in their hands.
When Apple Music introduced its free three-month trial upon the debut of the streaming service last June, it made sure it had the credit card information of all takers, which it could then use to automatically convert those trial subscribers into paid members upon the trial's expiration, unless they specifically canceled prior. Tidal, however, did not require a credit card in order to download "Anti" or receive a free trial, so once the two months are up, users will have to actively subscribe to the service.
Now that the giveaway codes are gone, Rihanna fans can still stream the album free on Tidal, or purchase it for download for $11.99. In a week, the album will become available on other streaming services including Spotify and Apple Music.