Jack Dorsey’s payment-processing company Square, Inc. has purchased a “significant” majority ownership stake in Jay-Z’s Tidal for $297 million in cash and stock.
Tidal, which Jay-Z helped launch in 2015 as part of a $56 million deal with other top music artists — including Alicia Keys, Beyonce, Chris Martin of Coldplay, Usher, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, Kanye West and Madonna — to acquire Norwegian streaming company Aspiro, will “operate independently within Square, alongside the Seller and Cash App ecosystems.”
Tidal board member and shareholder Jay-Z, whose real name is Shawn Carter, is expected to join Square’s board of directors subject to the closing of the transaction, which the companies expect to take place in the second quarter of 2021. Square’s exact stake in the company was not disclosed.
After the deal has closed, all of Tidal’s artist shareholders will continue to be co-owners of the music and entertainment streaming platform.
Tidal was launched with great fanfare, promising exclusive songs and videos from its artist-owners — but it often struggled to gain traction in a space dominated by companies like Spotify, Apple and Amazon.
Per Square, the acquisition of Tidal “extends Square’s purpose of economic empowerment to a new vertical: musicians. Artists are entrepreneurs with a dream and deserve access to systems, tools, and financial freedom to reach those dreams at every stage in their career. Square has helped millions of businesses start, run, and grow by providing them with tools needed for success. With Cash App, Square has made financial services more relatable and accessible to millions of customers, many of whom have been historically overlooked and underserved. Square sees an opportunity to leverage those learnings to help musicians find new ways to support their work and make better decisions through Tidal.”
“It comes down to one simple idea: finding new ways for artists to support their work,” Dorsey, cofounder and CEO of Square, said in a statement. “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.”
Jay-Z added: “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. 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!”