LOS ANGELES (CelebrityAccess) — Telecom giant Sprint announced on Monday that they have taken a 33% stake in music mogul Jay Z's streaming music service TIDAL.
The deal will provide Sprint’s 45 million retail customers with unlimited access to TIDAL, the company said. Jay Z will continue to run the streaming service, with Sprint’s chief executive officer, Marcelo Claure, also joining TIDAL’s Board of Directors.
“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 Z acquired TIDAL two years ago for $56 million with the plan to bolster the then small service through the use of exclusive content and artists relationships, touting the concept of artist-owners. However, the service suffered some key early stumbles, such as widespread technical glitches during a Kanye West exclusive debut and failed to find much traction with customers in the competitive streaming marketplace.
Since Jay Z's acquisition, the service has been the subject of repeated rumors that it was a target for acquisition by rival Apple Music, but such a deal failed to materialize, casting a pall over the future of TIDAL. While the Sprint deal will inject some new life into TIDAL, it remains an underdog in crowded marketplace.
“TIDAL has struggled to make a dent in the streaming market and has shallower pockets than Spotify, Apple or Amazon,” Mark Mulligan, an analyst at Midia Research, a market research company told the New York Times. “The Sprint deal gives it access to a big customer base, free marketing and a war chest to take on the streaming incumbents.” – Staff Writers