Square, the mobile payments platform co-founded and run by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, has agreed to buy Jay-Z’s music streaming service, Tidal.
The Hollywood Reporter says Square, the company behind the popular Cash App, purchased Tidal for $297 million. Dorsey confirmed the purchase in a Twitter thread on Thursday.
In that statement, Dorsey said that Square’s purchase of Tidal aims to find “new ways for artists to support their work. New ideas are found at the intersections, and we believe there’s a compelling one between music and the economy.”
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
Dorsey noted that Jay-Z would be joining Square’s board of directors as part of the deal and that Tidal’s original artists will be Square’s “second-largest group of shareholders."
Tidal, which launched in 2014 and was purchased by Jay-Z for $56 million in 2015, originally billed itself as a premium version of Spotify. Tidal touted better sound quality and exclusive music by Jay-Z, Beyonce and other artists, and aimed to give those artists more control over the distribution of their music.
However, Tidal has fallen far behind both Spotify and Apple Music in terms of subscriber base. While Jay-Z hoped to keep his catalog exclusive to Tidal, he re-released his music back to Spotify in 2019.
“Square created ecosystems of tools for sellers & individuals, and we’ll do the same for artists,” Dorsey said on Twitter. “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.”