UPDATE: 5:22 p.m. EST — This story was updated to include information provided by a Tidal representative.
The people’s demand for Kanye West has overwhelmed both Tidal and Periscope, as more than 20 million people flocked to the performance's stream.
Thursday afternoon, as fans in hundreds of movie theaters around the world waited for a fashion show, album premiere and a piece of performance art to begin, millions of others at their computers or mobile phones felt desperation gather, as they waited, hoping the live stream Tidal promised from Madison Square Garden in New York would start to function properly. More than 20 million people logged onto the stream at once, which according to Tidal caused an issue with AMV, the provider with service from Akamai.
That 20 million figure would instantly make West's show one of the most-streamed live events of all time, far more than the 3.3 million that tuned in to last fall's Tidal X 1020 show last fall, or the average of 1.4 million people that watched Super Bowl 50. It would also lag behind the 32 million that watched the "League of Legends" final in 2013.
The show eventually began when West, accompanied by his family and a large entourage, finally appeared at about 4:34 p.m EST. But by then, many of his would-be viewers online had grown frustrated.
Fans using social media reported a widely varied experience accessing the stream. A number of users watching via desktop computers appeared to have very little success, with many reporting their players were completely frozen. Meanwhile, users streaming via Tidal's mobile app appeared to be having an easier go of things. A Tidal representative said that users experiencing problems could correct them by lowering the resolution of their video stream and reloading their browsers.
This is not the first time the streaming music service has struggled with live streams of its artists' events. In the earliest moments of its star-studded Tidal X:1020 show at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn in October, reports of streaming glitches were rampant.
— Andy Mitchell (@kineticandroid) February 11, 2016
We're all suckers for thinking @TIDALHiFi could handle this traffic.
— Eric (@efgiardini) February 11, 2016