The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Apple is in early talks with the Jay Z backed music service, which has been shopping around for a buyer for some time. Though the talks are “exploratory” at this point, the deal could, seemingly, make sense for both parties.
With only four million paying subscribers, Tidal is far behind competitors like Spotify and Apple’s own subscription platform. Its two main benefits, however, are the company’s exclusive partnerships with prolific artists (including Jay Z, Beyonce, and Kanye West), and its hi-fidelity streaming option.
Apple Music, with 15 million subscribers, is still far behind Spotify itself. And, there’s no guarantee they could automatically convert all 4 million of Tidal’s members to paying subscriptions. But, with Tidal out of the way, Apple would be free of those pesky Tidal-exclusive releases, which usually delay availability on their own streaming platform for up to several months.
Between Apple & Spotify, Apple’s the only one with the cash to acquire Tidal—though, don’t expect the type of numbers that the Beats acquisition drew in. With Beats, Apple was getting a massive hardware empire, in addition to two music-savvy execs in Dre and Jimmy Iovine. While Jay Z has the marketability factor, Apple acquiring Tidal appears to be more about engulfing the competition than bringing new technology or people in-house.
Samsung was formerly in talks with Tidal, but has since walked away from the table. The only other major streaming provider with enough cash-on-hand is Google, but they have not shown any interest at this point.