Tidal’s first annual benefit concert certainly drew a crowd: 3.3 million people in 198 countries tuned in to the star-studded marathon at one point or another, the streaming service will announce Thursday afternoon. That's more than twice the number of people who streamed the Super Bowl in 2015, but far behind the 27 million people who watched the League of Legends world championships last year.
The concert also raised nearly $1.5 million for the Tidal X 10/20 Fund, which donates to assorted social justice causes and is administered by the New World Foundation. More than $1 million came from ticket sales, while an additional $400,000 came from a combination of HTC, which sponsored the concert, Ticketmaster, which ticketed it, the Barclays Center, which played host to the event, and donations from fans who tuned in.
The event was supposed to function as both a benefit concert and a kind of celebration of Tidal acquiring 1 million subscribers, and the company pulled as many levers as it could to drive interest. The show was streamed live by the cell phone maker HTC, which held its own press event earlier in the day to celebrate the launch of a new phone, the A9; Jay Z gave a packed audience of fans at Jimmy Kimmel Live tickets; and the hip-hop mogul, who also owns a talent management agency, pressed all of them into service to drive awareness.
— Jerome Boateng (@JB17Official) October 19, 2015
Tidal is not the only streaming service to get into the concert business. Earlier this fall, Apple debuted the Apple Music Festival, its own multiday event hosted in London that also featured a murderer’s row of stars. The Apple Music Festival was streamed live to users through iTunes as well as Apple Music, but Apple never publicly disclosed how many people accessed the stream.
Over the past six months, Tidal has been riding a roller coaster in the public eye. In the past three months alone, Billboard has gone from throwing dirt on the service to thinking that it might be a kind of success story. Tidal currently has 1 million paying subcribers.