Since Jay-Z bought TIDAL, and likely before, the company has had no end of issues. In fact, the purchase itself may have been an indication of issues, as the subscriber numbers that were reported and led to the purchase were incredibly inflated. Since then, artists have come and gone, as have customers. Last year, rumors suggested Apple was interested, which the company immediately denied. Why would they want another failing music service, anyway?
One of the reasons, of course, is the artist exclusives, something that Apple Music has tried to get into with varied success. This week, someone else decided that exclusive content was in their wheelhouse: US wireless carrier Sprint. Sprint has also been in a bit of trouble, actually having to compete for its #3 spot in the rankings with T-Mobile. Looking to give subscribers another reason to switch, other than the Verizon Guy, Sprint has picked up a 33% stake in TIDAL.
Jay-Z said of the acquisition,
Sprint shares our view of revolutionizing the creative industry to allow artists to connect directly with their fans and reach their fullest, shared potential. Marcelo understood our goal right away and together we are excited to bring Sprint's 45 million customers an unmatched entertainment experience.
Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure, who is joining the TIDAL Board of Directors, added,
Jay saw not only a business need, but a cultural one, and put his heart and grit into building TIDAL into a world-class music streaming platform that is unrivaled in quality and content. The passion and dedication that these artist-owners bring to fans will enable Sprint to offer new and existing customers access to exclusive content and entertainment experiences in a way no other service can.
As of now, it is unclear exactly how Sprint will fulfill its promise to "make TIDAL available to its 45 million post and prepaid customers," whether through included access, discounted rates or T-Mobile or AT&T-style bandwidth cap exemptions. It is definitely an interesting move at a time when the telecom companies are looking for new and interesting ways to differentiate themselves in a market where exclusive handsets are mostly a thing of the past.
Would free or reduced TIDAL access, or exclusive content, make you consider the switch to Sprint? Let us know in the comments.