According to “Tech Times,” the recent news of rap tycoon Jay Z selling his music streaming platform, Tidal to Apple, is that it is not going to happen. Jay Z bought the Swedish music streaming service for a $56 million in March of 2015. The music icon then recruited his top eight MySpace followers to be co-owners with him.
In its infancy Tidal, along with the Knowles-Carter empire, grew slowly and had many technical glitches. It was also reported to have had many executives within its first year, as well, according to The Ringer. Fortunately, in 2016, the music streaming service, Tidal dug its way out of the hole, with big names like Beyonce, Rihanna, and Kanye West, which helped to increase their subscribers to over 4 million. Tidal also offers an exclusive home page stream of Prince’s discography, which has gained more interest since the star’s death in April 2016.
According to Slate, Apple Music releases music from big stars, such as Drake and Future, and they buy the rights before anyone else does. On the Tidal side, they are said to have more of a lock on big artists like West, Rihanna, and Beyonce, who all own stakes in the platform. Therefore, coming together would seem fitting, if Apple buys their loyalties, which brings about 4.2 million new users, raising their subscribers to 17 million. It still leaves Apple behind Spotify, by about 13 million paying customers.
With both Apple and Tidal streaming platforms owning rights to exclusive content, Spotify has stayed away. To solve the problem of big releases being dropped on the wrong streaming service, Apple’s purchase of Tidal would ensure they were the only source for new releases.
The question is, if Apple did buy Tidal would the company also own Prince’s songs as well? Would they be readily available to Apple Music? The answer is, probably not. As reported by The Ringer, it will probably not happen without the company having to haggle more. Steve Gordon, an entertainment lawyer and author of “The Future of the Music Business,” states that Apple is not acquiring Tidal’s right to play music, but rather they are gaining Tidal’s subscriber’s list, which does not include licensing rights.
Although, exclusives like Beyonce’s, “Lemonade,” are what is called, a one-off deal, which does not lock an artist into keeping their songs exclusive to Tidal. West has stated that his “The Life of Pablo” was to be a permanent Tidal exclusive, but it ended up on the competition’s streaming music platforms within months of its release.
The rumor of Apple buying Tidal is said to not be happening, by Ben Sisario of the “New York Times.” According to his sources, there is not a purchase taking place, and he even tweeted that according to his “highly placed sources” Apple is not buying Tidal, but the idea is out there.
Apple is, however, interested in Spotify because of the company’s complaint that the new version of the iOS app was unfairly rejected by the Apple App Store, for competitive reasons. Apple’s lawyers have reportedly written a strongly worded letter to Spotify, which has leaked in full, saying that they find it unsettling that Spotify is asking for exclusions to rules that have been applied to all developers. Further saying that it is also troubling that Spotify would resort to half-truths and rumors about Apple’s services.
By Tracy Blake
Edited by Jeanette Smith
The Ringer: Apple May Buy Tidal — and Your Data — but Not Prince’s Music
Tech Times: Streaming Music Wars: Apple Not Buying Tidal, Fires Back At Spotify
Slate: Apple Might Buy Tidal, Which Is a Sort of Scary Thought
Image Courtesy of whittlz’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License