Jack Dorsey’s Square Inc. Is buying a majority stake in Jay Z’s streaming service Tidal. Paying $297 million in a cash and stock deal
The founder and CEO of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, expressed interest in buying Tidal, by rapper Jay-Z at the end of 2020. The two have reportedly held talks about payments firm Square acquiring Tidal, the Brooklyn-born rapper’s music streaming service.
Tidal was one of the products purchased by Jay-Z – or Shawn Corey Carter, for the non-intimate – in 2015, when his company, S. Carter Enterprises, paid US $ 56 million (R $ 292,15 million, in the conversion direct) to acquire Aspiro, the company that, until then, owned Tidal and other similar applications not well known, such as WiMP (this, deceased and absorbed by Tidal).
Tidal launched in 2014 and has struggled to make headway against Spotify and Apple Music. Album exclusives and promotions have kept the service alive throughout the years, but even Jay-Z signaled he’s tired of it last year. His entire discography reappeared on Spotify in 2019, with many people wondering if he was looking to sell off Tidal.
Tidal hasn’t reported its new subscriber figures in nearly five years. The last official numbers are from 2016, when Tidal said it had 3 million paying customers. At the time, Tidal was also running promotions with Sprint for free service with phone plans. Tidal is available in 53 countries and offers a catalog of more than 60 million songs and 250,000 music videos.
Dorsey also the co-founder and CEO of Twitter got interested in taking over Tidal in an effort to diversify Square’s business.
“Square is acquiring a majority ownership stake in TIDAL through a new joint venture, with the original artists becoming the second largest group of shareholders, and JAY-Z joining the Square board. Why would a music streaming company and a financial services company join forces?!
It comes down to a simple idea: finding new ways for artists to support their work. New ideas are found at the intersections, and we believe there’s a compelling one between music and the economy. Making the economy work for artists is similar to what Square has done for sellers.
Square started 12 years ago by giving small sellers a simple tool in order to participate more fully in the economy and grow. We did the same for individuals with Cash App, which now enables a comprehensive set of financial services for folks who weren’t able to access it before.
TIDAL started with the idea of honoring artists by being artist-owned and led, focused on an uncompromised experience of the art. It’s refreshing and right. The vision only grows stronger as it’s matched with more powerful tools for artists, inclusive of new ways of getting paid.
Given what Square has been able to do for sellers of all sizes and individuals through Cash App, we believe we can now work for artists to see the same success for them, and us. We’re going to start small and focus on the most critical needs of artists and growing their fanbases.
Square created ecosystems of tools for sellers & individuals, and we’ll do the same for artists. We’ll work on entirely new listening experiences to bring fans closer together, simple integrations for merch sales, modern collaboration tools, and new complementary revenue streams.
To all of TIDAL’s current listeners and fans: THANK YOU for your loyalty and commitment to artists and their work. TIDAL will continue to be the best home for music, musicians, and culture. Our commitment to you is to constantly listen, learn, and work to make a service you love.
I’m grateful for Jay’s vision, wisdom, and leadership. I knew TIDAL was something special as soon as I experienced it, and I’m inspired to work with him. He’ll now help lead our entire company, including Seller and the Cash App, as soon as the deal closes,” said Jack Dorsey
“I said from the beginning that TIDAL was about more than just streaming music, and six years later, it has remained a platform that supports artists at every point in their careers. Artists deserve better tools to assist them in their creative journey.
Jack is one of the greatest minds of our times, and our many discussions about TIDAL’s endless possibilities have made me even more inspired about its future. This shared vision makes me even more excited to join the Square board.
This partnership will be a game-changer for many. I look forward to all this new chapter has to offer!” Jay-Z said