Less than a day after MBW ruminated on whether TIDAL would be able to secure some outside help with its funding – and survive without it – a major development has been confirmed.
US telco Sprint – which boasts 45 million retail customers and is majority-owned by Japanese giant Softbank – has acquired a 33% stake in TIDAL, it’s been announced.
Sources tell MBW that the sale cost Sprint around $200m, valuing TIDAL at $600m.
Sprint’s chief executive officer, Marcelo Claure, will also join TIDAL’s Board of Directors.
In exchange for its new ownership stake, TIDAL has inked a deal with Sprint which it says will “make exclusive content that will only be available to current and new Sprint customers”.
An official note from TIDAL said: ‘Jay Z and and the artist-owners will continue to run TIDAL’s artist-centric service as it pioneers and grows the direct relationship between artists and fans.’
“Sprint shares our view of revolutionizing the creative industry to allow artists to connect directly with their fans and reach their fullest, shared potential,” said Jay Z.
“Marcelo understood our goal right away and together we are excited to bring Sprint’s 45 million customers an unmatched entertainment experience.”
“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,” said Claure.
“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.”
TIDAL confirmed today that its service is available in more than 52 countries, with a more than 42.5 million song catalog and 140,000 high quality videos.
However, it stopped short at giving a subscriber update.
According to Midia Research, TIDAL finished 2016 with 1.0m paying customers worldwide – far smaller than the subscriber figure we’d been led to believe it had procured.
A US major record company source told MBW on Friday that TIDAL had not reported to their business for around six months.