Monday January 23, 2017

Sprint Takes 33% Stake in Jay Z's Tidal for $200M

Reports of the demise of high end music streaming service Tidal have been greatly exaggerated it seems. In Jay Z's song, "U Don't Know" he boasts that he can sell water to a well. Today, he sold 33% of the company to Sprint for $200 million, thus giving the company an evaluation of $600 million. Jay-Z completed the purchase of the music service from Aspiro for $56 million in March of 2015. This deal will add 45 million Sprint customers to the service where artists such as Neil Young exclusively stream content. If net neutrality laws are relaxed, I wonder if they will get data cap friendly streams of the robust Tidal lossless Master recordings catalog as those downloads are extremely large in size. I suppose that Sprint didn't put much merit into the recent reports of Tidal wildly inflating subscriber numbers.

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As part of the partnership, Sprint will make Tidal available to all of its 45 million customers, including pre-paid users, giving them full advantage of the many exclusives on the streaming site, which is one of the biggest selling points the platform has. In just over a year, Tidal has launched new albums from the likes of Rihanna, Kanye West and Beyoncأ©, as well as new songs, remixes, playlists, concerts and music videos from those artists and many others. The ability to watch or listen to these exclusives are limited to paying subscribers, as Tidal doesn't have a free tier.

Sprint's CEO will join Tidal’s board of directors, but Tidal says it will still be run by the many famous musicians who have helped bring so much attention to the company in the year-plus since it launched.