Apple is currently eying an acquisition of Tidal, the music streaming service and Apple Music competitor started by rapper Jay-Z. According to The Wall Street Journal, Apple’s interest in Tidal is currently exploratory, which is to say that a deal between the two companies isn’t anywhere close to being finalized just yet. The report further adds that Apple’s underlying interest in Tidal stems from the service’s close relationship with artists.
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Indeed, one of the cornerstones of Apple’s streaming music strategy is to secure as many exclusive content deals with artists as possible. Sometimes this manifests in new albums launching on Apple Music first and sometimes the result is an artist’s album residing exclusively on Apple Music.
Tidal of course has been playing the same exclusivity game as Apple, albeit with different artists such as Kanye West and, of course, Jay-Z.
Tidal is also the only service offering the catalog of the late pop star Prince, who was wary of other streaming services but had a close relationship with Jay Z.
But the company has experienced management turmoil, churning through three chief executives, one of them interim and one appointed by prior management, in less than a year. Jeff Toig, former chief business officer of SoundCloud, a Berlin-based audio-sharing service, has been CEO since January.
With the music streaming landscape currently a three-way race involving Apple, Tidal and Spotify, acquiring Tidal would go a long ways towards positioning Apple as an even more serious threat to Spotify. And with Tidal’s business struggling, perhaps Apple could pick up the company at a bargain.
As a final point, the Journal adds that Apple may not be the only company interested in Tidal. One other media company reportedly in the mix is Napster (formerly known as Rhapsody).