Talk about timely.
Just as murmurs of suspect subscriber numbers began to gain volume, Jay Z‘s embattled streaming platform TIDAL has received a huge lease of life thanks to a lucrative new deal with Sprint.
Billboard confirms that the US phone giant has bought a 33% in TIDAL for a reported a $200 million. The deal will see Jay and each of the company’s 20+ artist-owners (which include Rihanna and Kanye West) remain part owners.
Perhaps most interesting is that TIDAL will become available to Sprint’s 45 million retail customers,
The companies will also partner for exclusives from its artists.
Speaking on the venture, Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure – who joins TIDAL’s board of directors – said…
“Jay saw not only a business need, but a cultural one, and put his heart and grit into building TIDAL into a world-class music streaming platform that is unrivaled in quality and content. The passion and dedication that these artist-owners bring to fans will enable Sprint to offer new and existing customers access to exclusive content and entertainment experiences in a way no other service can.”
Jay Z added…
“Sprint shares our view of revolutionizing the creative industry to allow artists to connect directly with their fans and reach their fullest, shared potential. Marcelo understood our goal right away and together we are excited to bring Sprint’s 45 million customers an unmatched entertainment experience.”
In a bid to ensure the partnership is a fruitful one with wide penetration, it contractually includes the creation of a “dedicated marketing fund,” which a reports say is in the ball park of $75 million annually.
This will be solely for the artist initiatives and exclusives. As for any change to the service for those already subscribed to TIDAL (the total of which vary depending on the source), there won’t be any. Put simply, business as usual.
On the one hand, we truly admire Jay Z’s tenacity with this whole TIDAL venture. Indeed, despite it’s many, countless flaws (dating back to its launch), it’s generally been a well-intentioned service. Especially if folk do research into what artists – both big and small – actually make from streaming (see: not much at all).
So with Sprint as a partner, it could very well change the overall climate for TIDAL.
That said, there are a few things money cannot buy – namely organic “cool” + a blank slate to erase two years worth of seismic screw-ups.
All of that aside, we hope – for Jay and co’s sake – that this serves as a resuscitation rather than an elongation of its demise.