Apple in talks to buy Tidal – reports

1 Jul 2016

Apple is considering the purchase of music-streaming service Tidal, according to reports in the US.

Jay Z-owned Tidal is in Apple’s crosshairs, according to The Wall Street Journal, as the music streaming industry continues its nascent age of flux and confusion.

A bit of an A-list hub, Tidal came about because major artists felt they were under-rewarded by the likes of Spotify and Deezer.

Jay Z – along with the likes of Kanye West, Beyoncé, Jack White and more – got together to set up their own subscription streaming service and, somewhat surprisingly, pulled it off.

However, if these reports are true, presumably its not Tidal’s subscribed audience that most appeals to Apple, which has its own loyal fanbase to keep it warm at night.

Rather, the exclusive licensing rights Tidal has acquired from the artists above, as well as Chris Martin, Madonna and many more, looks to be the goldmine.

“The talks are ongoing and may not result in a deal,” said The Wall Street Journal, quoting sources familiar with the matter.

Streaming in general is in a bit of flux at the moment, both on the music and video side of things.

While Apple eyes up Tidal for potential advantages, they each operate in the dark shadow of Spotify, which dwarfs them in both subscription numbers, as well as appeal to investors.

Spotify’s conversion rate from free subscribers to paying subscribers is around the 30pc mark, not too shabby when it comes to 100m users. It also recently raised $1bn earlier this year, valued as Europe’s leading light by some.

On the video side of things, YouTube, the true giant of media content online, has recently begun investing in serious, high-quality series, hedging its bets on a TV series based on the Channing Tatum classic Step Up as its future audience catcher.

It all means that potential Apple moves for Tidal are interesting, but hardly game changers. We’ll have to wait and see how this one plays out.

Main image of Jay Z and Beyonce via T photography/Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic