Sprint has purchased a 33 percent stake in Jay Z’s music streaming service Tidal, the companies announced on Monday.
“Sprint shares our view of revolutionizing the creative industry to allow artists to connect directly with their fans and reach their fullest, shared potential,” Jay Z said. “[Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure] understood our goal right away and together we are excited to bring Sprint’s 45 million customers an unmatched entertainment experience.”
Jay Z and the artist-owners will continue to run the service. The pairing of Sprint and Tidal will offer customers on both platforms exclusive access for customers who subscribe to Tidal. In addition, Claure will join Tidal’s board of directors.
“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.”
Jay Z purchased Tidal in January 2015 for approximately $56 million. The rap mogul relaunched the company shortly thereafter in a major event featuring artists like Rihanna, Madonna, Kanye West and Beyonce, who all pledged to release exclusive works on the service.
But their star power failed to yield results, as consumers balked at the $19.99 subscription price set for Tidal’s high-definition streams. Jay Z has previously stated that the service’s initial subscriber numbers were inflated prior to his purchase. However, the service now claims to have over 3 million subscribers.
The service has endured a high turnover rate among top executives as well. Tidal announced in March 2016 that it had terminated chief financial officer Chris Hart and chief operating officer Nils Juell. Tidal has also gone through three CEOs since Jay Z bought it.