Jack Dorsey and Jay-Z team up as Square takes over Tidal

4 Mar 2021

Image: © Gary L Hider/Stock.adobe.com

Tidal will remain co-owned by the artists that bought the music streaming platform in 2015.

Square has announced its plan to acquire a majority share in Tidal for $297m in stock and cash.

The Tidal music streaming service was uniquely owned by musicians after rapper Jay-Z, in partnership with other artists such as Beyoncé and Rihanna, bought the platform in 2015 in a $56m deal. As well as music and video streaming, Tidal offers users exclusive content from the artists it hosts.

While Square is set to take a significant majority stake in the company following the transaction announced today (4 March), Tidal’s previous owners – including Jay-Z – will continue as co-owners and the second-largest group of stakeholders.

Square is a mobile payments company led by co-founder Jack Dorsey. Dorsey plays a dual leadership role as CEO of both Square and social media platform Twitter. Last summer, he and Jay-Z were spotted in the Hamptons together. And last month, the two teamed up to form a bitcoin trust to fund bitcoin development in Africa and India.

‘This partnership will be a game changer for many’

Square intends to integrate its payments technology with Tidal in order to enable artists to better monetise their music. “It comes down to one simple idea: finding new ways for artists to support their work,” said Dorsey.

Following the deal, Tidal will be led by Square’s current hardware lead, Jesse Dorogusker, on an interim basis.

Jay-Z will also be joining Square’s board following the close of the transaction, which is expected in the second quarter of this year.

“Artists deserve better tools to assist them in their creative journey,” said Jay-Z. “Jack and I have had many discussions about Tidal’s endless possibilities that 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.”

Tidal currently hosts a catalogue of more than 70m songs streaming to listeners in more than 56 countries.

“Together, Tidal and Square will be music-obsessed and artist-focused while we explore new artist tools, listener experiences, and access to financial systems that help artists be successful,” said Dorogusker.

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.