Though TIDAL retains its own fair share of dedicated users, it’s often left out of the larger conversation when talking about streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, even Amazon Music, Deezer, or YouTube Music. It possesses the highest quality music available on comparable streaming services, but it was launched a little too late and doesn’t have a large enough library to effectively court new users on the scale of other platforms.
Today, San Francisco-based financial services, merchant services aggregator, and mobile payment company Square has announced it plans to acquire a majority ownership stake in TIDAL. According to the press release announcing the plans, “Square expects to pay a mix of cash and stock of $297 million for a significant majority ownership stake, and existing artist shareholders will be the remaining stakeholders. TIDAL will operate independently within Square, alongside the Seller and Cash App ecosystems.”
Square, which also runs the mobile payment service Cash App, was co-founded by Jack Dorsey, also a co-founder and the CEO of Twitter.
“It comes down to one simple idea: finding new ways for artists to support their work,” said Dorsey. “New ideas are found at intersections, and we believe there’s a compelling one between music and the economy. I knew TIDAL was something special as soon as I experienced it, and it will continue to be the best home for music, musicians, and culture.”
“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 Shawn “JAY-Z” Carter. “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!”
Dorsey explained the acquisition a bit more on Twitter (excerpt below):
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.
— jack (@jack) March 4, 2021