US telecoms giant Sprint has acquired a 33pc stake in Jay Z’s streaming service Tidal in a $200m transaction.
The deal will see Tidal become available to Sprint’s 45m retail customers across the US.
It will also give the customers access to exclusive artist content.
‘Jay saw not only a business need, but a cultural one, and put his heart and grit into building Tidal into a world-class music streaming platform that is unrivalled in quality and content’
– MARCELO CLAURE
Jay Z and the other artists who own Tidal will continue to run the music streaming platform as an artist-centric service.
Sprint’s CEO Marcelo Claure will join Tidal’s board of directors.
Sprint investment in Tidal is music to Jay Z’s ears
“Sprint shares our view of revolutionising the creative industry to allow artists to connect directly with their fans and reach their fullest, shared potential,” said Jay Z.
“Marcelo understood our goal right away and together we are excited to bring Sprint’s 45m customers an unmatched entertainment experience.”
Tidal was formed in 2015 by Jay Z and some of the world’s biggest artists including Kanye West, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna and Jack White, after artists took umbrage with their belief that services like Spotify and Deezer weren’t sharing royalties sufficiently.
Taylor Swift, a vocal critic of streaming who famously removed her catalogue from Spotify, also joined Tidal.
In its first two years, the service appears to have struggled to make a profit and last year, rumours abounded that Apple, which is enjoying success with its own Apple Music streaming service, was reportedly interested in acquiring Tidal.
A key aspect of the deal between Tidal and Sprint will be the creation of a “dedicated marketing fund”, which will have a budget of $75m solely for artist initiatives and exclusives.
It is understood that there will be no change in the existing service for Tidal’s 1m subscribers.
“Jay saw not only a business need, but a cultural one, and put his heart and grit into building Tidal into a world-class music streaming platform that is unrivalled in quality and content,” Claure said.
“The passion and dedication that these artist-owners bring to fans will enable Sprint to offer new and existing customers access to exclusive content and entertainment experiences in a way no other service can.”