Digital payments firm Square said Thursday it was buying a majority stake in music streaming platform Tidal from a group led by rap star Jay-Z for $ 297 million in cash and shares.
“The acquisition extends Square’s economic empowerment purpose to a new vertical: musicians,” said a statement from the fintech firm led by Jack Dorsey, who is also the CEO of Twitter.
“It all comes down to one simple idea: find new ways for artists to support their work,” said Dorsey.
“New ideas are at the intersections, and we think there is a compelling one between music and economics.”
Jay-Z bought Europe-based Aspiro’s Tidal in 2015 in a deal valued at just over $ 56 million, and sought to use the platform to give artists more control over their work.
The owners include several other high-profile artists, such as Madonna, Rihanna, and Jay-Z’s wife, Beyonce.
But Tidal has struggled to compete with much larger streaming services like Spotify and Apple. The private company had three million paid subscriptions in 2016, when it last released the figures.
Jay-Z surprised fans in December 2019 by moving his music catalog to Spotify after a two-year hiatus.
The deal with Square establishes a new joint venture that gives the payments company “a significant majority stake” along with existing artist shareholders, according to the statement.
Tidal will operate “independently within Square,” according to the statement.
“I said early on that Tidal was about more than just streaming music, and six years later, it’s still a platform that supports artists at every point in their careers,” said Jay-Z, whose full name is Shawn Carter.
“Artists deserve better tools to help them on their creative journey. Jack and I have had many discussions about the infinite possibilities of Tidal that have inspired me even more about its future. “
As part of the agreement, Jay-Z will join Square’s board of directors.
Tidal has listeners in more than 56 countries and relationships with more than 100 labels and distributors.