Square, the mobile payments firm run by Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s co-founder, has acquired a majority stake in Tidal, the streaming music service led by rapper Jay-Z.
Square will pay $297 million in a mix of cash and stock to become Tidal’s “significant majority” owner, though Jay-Z and Tidal’s other existing artist-shareholders will retain some ownership in the company.
Tidal artist-owners include Beyoncé, Alicia Keys, Coldplay’s Chris Martin, Kanye West, Madonna, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, Daft Punk, Damian Marley, Lil Wayne, J. Cole, T.I, Usher, among others.
Tidal will operate independently within Square, according to a company release, and Jay-Z will join Square’s board of directors in bid to shake up the artist economy.
“Why would a music streaming company and a financial services company join forces?!,” Dorsey said in the statement announcing the deal.
“It comes down to a simple idea: finding new ways for artists to support their work. New ideas are found at intersections, and we believe there is a compelling one between music and the economy.”
Square said it has taken a “significant majority ownership stake” in Tidal, which Jay-Z bought in partnership with other artists for $56m in 2015.
Jay-Z said in the statement that the “partnership will be a game-changer for many.” I look forward to all this new chapter has to offer!”
After Jay-Z acquired Tidal for $56 million in 2015, the streaming service differentiated itself by offering high-quality audio and video and paying better royalty rates to artists than rivals such as Spotify.
While Tidal has carved out its niche, offering more than 70m songs and 250,000 high-quality videos, the global market is dominated by Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music.
Last month, Spotify announced its own high-resolution streaming option, which will compete against Tidal. In 2017, Jay-Z removed most of his music from Spotify, but restored it in 2019 for his 50th birthday.
KanyiDaily recalls that Jay-Z was officially the first person in hip-hop to become a billionaire in 2019, according to Forbes rankings.
Jay-Z accumulated a fortune that conservatively totals $1 billion, making him one of only a handful of entertainers to become a billionaire, and the first hip-hop artist to do so.
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