Mobile carrier Sprint has acquired a 33% stake in Jay Z’s TIDAL music streaming service according a press release circulated by the company today (January 23rd). Through the terms of the deal, Sprint with make TIDAL available to its user base of 45 million customers. It is unclear whether or not this access will be free of charge to those customers or if some sort of premium will be tacked onto their bill.
Either way, it’s a move that should grow TIDAL’s user base significantly and help it catch up with streaming industry leaders Spotify and Apple Music. There’s talk about more TIDAL “exclusives” for consumers in the official announcement, which as I and many other people smarter than myself have pointed out, are bad for music fans and the industry itself. Sprint paid $200 million for their share of the service with another additional $75 million annual artist marketing budget.
In other words, that’s the money they’ll throw at artists to keep their content exclusive to TIDAL, which again, sucks. This news comes on the heels of a somewhat suspect report released last week by a Norwegian media outlet that asserts TIDAL has been falsely inflating reported subscriber numbers. Both Apple and Samsung had previously been rumored to be interested in either purchasing or investing in TIDAL.