Digital payment platform Square is mulling buying Tidal, a music streaming service backed by Jay-Z and other celebrities such as Beyonce, Alicia Keys, Rihanna among others.
Square, run by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, had a discussion with Jay-Z over a possible sale of Tidal as part of an effort to diversify, Bloomberg reports. The report did not disclose the amount involved in the deal but quoted a source who said the deal was imminent.
According to Bloomberg, Dorsey was spotted hanging out with Jay-Z and his wife Beyoncé in the Hamptons this past August. They were spotted again on the beach of Hawaii this December with actor Sean Penn.
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Jay-Z first acquired Tidal for $56 million in 2015 but the platform has since struggled to keep up with other music streaming services like Spotify and App music. In 2017, Jay-Z announced that he was selling a stake in Tidal to Sprint, a telecoms company.
The $200 investment from Sprint was not enough to keep Tidal afloat as it still struggles to rival Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon music. According to Forbes, the streaming service’s financial woes have been going on for years. In 2014, it lost $10.4 million, $28 million in 2015 and then nearly $44 million in 2016.
Since acquiring Tidal, Jay-Z cut off the idea of putting his music on other platforms as a way of getting more subscribers. He, however, put his music discography back on Spotify to celebrate his 50th birthday. This singular act generated rumors of the imminent collapse of his streaming service.
Tidal was touted as a better option for artistes because it offers higher royalties than competitors. However, the company was accused of not paying royalties of artistes, resulting in a suit from Yesh Music Publishing and John Emanuele for $5 million over unpaid royalties and copyright infringement.
To date, Tidal has reported it has 3 million pay subscribers and present in 53 countries and offers more than 60 million songs and 250,000 videos.
This is not the first time that moves have been made to purchase Tidal. Market Watch reported in 2016 that Apple Inc was in talks to acquire the streaming-music service, citing people familiar with the matter.
At the time, Apple was reportedly exploring the idea of bringing on Tidal to bolster its Apple Music service because of Tidal’s strong ties to popular artistes such as Kanye West and Madonna.
In recent days, Jay-Z has been making some big money moves, including the announcing of his own cannabis brand Monogram and venturing into publishing.
The iconic rapper’s first business venture was his clothing line called Rocawear in 1999. He later founded a sports bar chain called the 40/40 Club in 2013. In 2015, he acquired a tech company called Aspiro and also launched Tidal.
Jay-Z also has a stake in French audio tech firm Devialet. The tech firm recently launched wireless earbuds called Gemini to rival Apple and Samsung’s dominance in the wireless earphones market.