Less than two years after its high-profile launch, music streaming service Tidal, run by rap music superstar Jay-Z, is reportedly in preliminary talks to be acquired by Apple. The two companies are in “exploratory talks” that may or may not result in a deal, according to the Wall Street Journal. If a purchase happens, it would greatly increase the catalog of the Apple Music streaming service, adding Tidal’s roster of exclusive artists and content to its already large library. Tidal for its part has denied any talks are taking place.
Jay-Z purchased Tidal from Norway’s Aspiro Group for $56 million through his Project Panther Ltd. in 2015. A small roster of A-list musicians were given small stakes in the company, among them Beyoncé, Prince, Rihanna, Kanye West, Nicki Minaj, Daft Punk, Jack White, Madonna, Arcade Fire, Alicia Keys, Usher, Chris Martin, Calvin Harris, deadmau5, Jason Aldean and J. Cole, with the service billed as a means of providing higher royalties than rival streaming services. The service currently offers two subscription tiers, a $19.99 per month premium service, and a $9.99 per month standard audio quality version.
The company claims over 4 million paying subscribers, though it has also seen a series of management replacements and criticism from artists about the actual royalties paid out.