It’s been an eventful few days for Tidal. Things weren’t looking good after reports that the company may have been inflating its subscriber numbers, but that obviously doesn't matter to Sprint. The wireless carrier has just bought a 33 percent stake in Jay Z’s music streaming service.
Billboard reports that Sprint is paying $200 million for the acquisition. Jay Z and the rest of the music "artist-owners," which include Beyoncé, Rihanna, Kanye West, and Nicki Minaj, will remain part owners, with Sprint's CEO Marcelo Claure joining Tidal's Board of Directors.
Sprint’s dealings with Tidal goes back to 2015 when the carrier was forced to deny it had made an investment in the service. It was merely determining “how to best make the service available to its customers,” according to a Sprint spokesperson, who noted at the time that it was “NOT a financial investment or exclusive partnership."
Samsung and Apple had reportedly been considering an acquisition of Tidal, but now its Sprint that has finished what it started two years ago and taken a slice of the company. The deal with result in the creation of a $75 million “dedicated marketing fund” for Tidal, which will allow it to attract new artists and exclusives.
It seems the move will also bring benefits to music-loving Sprint customers. The company notes that the partnership will “soon give Sprint’s 45 million retail customers unlimited access to exclusive artist content not available anywhere else.” It didn’t give any more details, so we’ll have to wait and see if this means free/discounted access to Tidal, exclusive tracks, or maybe some other special deals and offers. Sprint said more information would be “available soon.”
The acquisition will no doubt be welcomed by Tidal, which has been struggling in the face of stiff competition from Spotify and Apple Music, and it should help take the spotlight away from those alleged inflated subscriber figures.