According to the Wall Street Journal, the music-streaming service run by Jay Z, and used by the likes of Kanye and the late Prince, is being eyed up by Apple. The tech giant would couple Apple Music with Tidal due to the strong ties that Jay Z’s device has with popular mainstream artists including the aforementioned Kanye West, Madonna, Daft Punk and 12 other massive artists who are all considered “The owners of TIDAL” by Jay Z.
The ongoing talks may not result in a deal, and potential terms are currently unknown.
Jay Z bought Tidal for $56 million in march of 2016 from Swedish company Aspiro, which created the brand. Jay Z and 19 other artists have small stakes in the company and promised each other millions worth of marketing. The service itself costs $20 a month for its high-fidelity 40 million-song catalog, but you can drop $10 a month if you’re cool with standard-quality. Tidal has roughly 4.2 million paying subscribers, and a great deal of them signed on after Tidal hosted exclusive released from Kanye, Rihanna and Beyoncé.
As far as running the business goes, the company has gone through three chief executives in less than a year and former CBO of SoundCloud, Jeff Toig, has been at the helm since January. As far as revenue, it hasn’t exactly been a smash hit and that’s mainly due to its low subscriber numbers. They really get artists, but don’t seem to understand the listeners and they’re currently facing a lawsuit for promising that Kanye’s album, “The Life of Pablo,” would only be available on Tidal.
My album will never never never be on Apple. And it will never be for sale… You can only get it on Tidal.
— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) February 15, 2016
The lie led to Tidal “inflating new subscriber numbers and obtaining valuable personal data in the process.” The fact of the matter is that TLOP became available on Spotify and then for purchase on Kanye’s website.
All that said, the possible merger with Apple Music would bring together two of the biggest names in hip-hop while uniting East Coast and West Coast rap under one name. Dr. Dre and Jay Z combining forces would be like Batman and Superman teaming up, and with those two names comes every connection in the book. Problems could arise in that Tidal likes to give their artists a lot of freedoms, including “tinkering” with their music after releasing it like Kanye did with TLOP. People familiar with the matter say that Apple may not be too keen on that.
A big pro for Apple is that they’d have a larger catalog of exclusive streaming releases, which could help them catch up with Spotify’s massive user base. Meanwhile, Jay Z and “The owners of TIDAL” would be paid a king’s ransom for their involvement. What’s more, Apple would suddenly become an artist-friendly service with the likes of Trent Reznor and Jay Z up top, while Spotify would be viewed as a lesser option for artists due to the non-paying subscriber base.
Sounds like a win-win for both parties involved.