Samsung in talks to acquire Tidal from Jay Z just one year after the rap star purchased it from Aspiro, source say. The deal could allow Samsung to go head-to-head with Apple Music just as its new Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge are about to do battle with the iPhone.
The South Korean electronics maker has reportedly held “on-and-off” talks with Tidal for some time, and already has ties with Jay Z and other Tidal associates. Back in July 2013, Samsung paid Jay Z a reported $5 million to give away 1 million copies of his “Magna Carta Holy Grail” album. It also paid Rihanna, a Tidal partner, $28 million to sponsor her latest album and tour.
“Samsung is re-engaging; they are working on something really big, and they’re keeping it very quiet in case it leaks,” a source familiar with the matter told New York Post.
Sources say Google and Spotify are also interested in the company, which could bolster their existing music services thanks to its close ties to major music stars. However, it’s thought they are currently looking at smaller partnerships, rather than a complete acquisition.
Tidal has attracted over 1 million subscribers since it was relaunched by Jay Z last March, but still struggles to compete with the likes of Spotify and Apple Music. Its first year has been a rocky one, with three different chief executives taking charge of the company, and a number of major gaffes.
Tidal accidentally released Rihanna’s latest album, “Anti,” earlier than it should have. While Kanye West’s new “The Life of Pablo” album, which is still a Tidal exclusive, reportedly lost $10 million in sales in the first days of its release due to piracy.
Jay Z has been forced to put more of his own money into Tidal to keep the service going, but sources say it still struggles to pay royalty bills on time. The company is currently valued at about $100 million.