Square, the mobile payments company led by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, announced today that it plans to acquire a “significant majority” of Tidal, the streaming music service owned by Jay-Z and other artists.
Square will pay $297 million in stock and cash for the stake in Tidal and Jay-Z will join Square’s board while retaining a smaller stake in the music streaming company.
“I said from the beginning that Tidal was about more than just streaming music, and six years later, it has remained a platform that supports artists at every point in their careers,” said Jay-Z in a press statement. “Artists deserve better tools to assist them in their creative journey. Jack and I have had many discussions about Tidal’s endless possibilities that have made me even more inspired about its future. This shared vision makes me even more excited to join the Square board. This partnership will be a game-changer for many. I look forward to all this new chapter has to offer!”
In a thread on Twitter, Dorsey tweeted, “Why would a music streaming company and a financial services company join forces?!” To find “new ways for artists to support their work.”
Square is acquiring a majority ownership stake in TIDAL through a new joint venture, with the original artists becoming the second largest group of shareholders, and JAY-Z joining the Square board. Why would a music streaming company and a financial services company join forces?!
— jack (@jack) March 4, 2021
“Given what Square has been able to do for sellers of all sizes and individuals through Cash App, we believe we can now work for artists to see the same success for them, and us,” tweeted Dorsey. “Square created ecosystems of tools for sellers & individuals, and we’ll do the same for artists. We’ll work on entirely new listening experiences to bring fans closer together, simple integrations for merch sales, modern collaboration tools, and new complementary revenue streams.”
Tidal, which Jay-Z bought in partnership with other artists in 2015 for $56 million, provides members access to music, music videos, and exclusive content from artists, but the streaming music industry has been dominated by competitors like Spotify, Apple, and Amazon.
In 2017, Jay-Z sold 33 percent of the company to Sprint for an undisclosed amount. (After a merger, Sprint is now a part of T-Mobile.) Earlier this week, Jay-Z bought back the shares from T-Mobile, and most will be sold to Square as part of the deal.
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