Apple Tipped To Be Running A Ruler Over Arch Rival Tidal
Apple who are looking to shore up falling hardware sales are believed to be running a ruler over Tidal, a streaming service that has built a reputation for delivering high definition audio content.
Tidal, is run by rap mogul Jay Z.
It was only 12 months ago that Apple was actively engaging in a smear campaign against Tidal claims the New York Times.
According to Ben Sisario, the music reporter at the publication, Tidal owner Jay Z’s general disdain for the company seen as a problem to a potential deal going through.
He went on to claim that it makes sense for both parties, given the uphill battle they both have surpassing Spotify to become the top streaming service. He said that “Apple’s road is way, way, way easier”, due to the business synergies that exist between the two companies.
The Wall Street Journal first broke the story that Apple is exploring the idea of buying Tidal to bolster its Apple Music service because of Tidal’s strong ties to popular artists such as Kanye West and Madonna. The service is also popular among premium Hi Fi makers looking to expand their network sound products.
Jay Z bought the service in March 2015 for $56 million from Swedish company Aspiro, which had created the brand Tidal. He has given 19 famous artists and bands small stakes in Tidal and promised each millions of dollars’ worth of marketing, according to people familiar with the matter.
Tidal charges $20 a month for a high-fidelity version of its 40 million-song catalogue or $10 a month for standard-quality sound. Tidal said it has 4.2 million paying subscribers, most of whom it amassed this year with a string of exclusive releases from stars including Mr. West, Rihanna and Beyoncé, who is Jay Z’s wife.
According to the Verge, exclusive album releases aren’t going anywhere, and the two players in that game are Apple Music and Tidal.
Spotify has said it won’t engage in the exclusive game, which means there is potential for Apple Music to become the sole place for new music from big artists on their release day.
If Apple does manage to keep all the Tidal artists, it’s feasible that Apple could catch up with Spotify’s 30 million paid users in the next year or so. They claim that the acquisition of Tidal alone would push it to nearly 20 million paid subscribers, but that 100 million number looms large, and Apple will have to make some changes to reach that target.
The easiest way is to become the official home for new music.
Verge also claim that If the sale goes through, there is a very real possibility of future releases from Drake, Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, Kanye West, Rihanna, Jay Z, Madonna, Future, Chance The Rapper, Nicki Minaj, Jason Aldean, Pharrell, and Daft Punk to land on Apple Music before anywhere else. And let’s not forget Prince’s music catalogue, which lives solely on Tidal, but could find a much broader audience with Apple Music.
Some observers claim that there are tons of reasons why this deal could die before talks get too serious.
Reports say Apple delayed approval of updates to Tidal’s app when the service relaunched last year and it’s not promoting releases by Tidal artists, which hasn’t gone over well in the least; the relationship between Jay Z and Apple executive Jimmy Iovine goes way back, but the two may not be on the greatest terms as of late; Tidal may not like the money Apple is offering; there could be reservations from other Tidal artist-owners about working with Apple Music; Kanye does or says something; and the list goes on.
But for Tidal and Apple, the reasons to do this deal largely outweigh the negatives. Both Apple Music and Tidal are united by an ethos to create an artist-first platform that pays well and allows musicians an environment to experiment, thus making a culture clash unlikely. And no matter how much they pay, if Apple can get Tidal’s artists to agree to work with them it’s a great move for Apple Music’s consumer marketing, and its perception within the music industry.