Apple is reportedly considering buying Tidal, the high fidelity music streaming service owned by Jay Z.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the tech giant may offer to buy Tidal in order to bring Tidal’s links to popular artists such as Kanye West and Beyoncé into Apple’s own streaming service, Apple Music.
Tidal’s other big selling point, alongside lossless audio, is its artist exclusivity. Kanye West’s most recent album, The Life of Pablo was initially released only on the streaming site, prompting West to tweet his allegiance to the service.
Six weeks later it was added to Apple Music but only after it had racked up 250 million plays in the first 10 days of its Tidal release.
Jay Z bought Tidal from Swedish music technology company Aspiro in March 2015 for $56 million (£42m). The rapper brought on board a slew of high-profile artists, including Alicia Keys, Arcade Fire and Chris Martin, to relaunch the platform around the themes of exclusive artist content and high fidelity streaming.
My album will never never never be on Apple. And it will never be for sale… You can only get it on Tidal.
— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) February 15, 2016
Since its launch last year, Tidal claims to have racked up 3 million subscribers and almost half of them have signed-up to its top-tier lossless streaming option which costs £19.99 per month in the UK. Standard quality streaming costs £9.99 per month, a figure which puts Tidal on par with its current competitors Apple Music and Spotify.
Apple launched its own music streaming service, Apple Music, in June 2015 and has since attracted 15 million subscribers to its platform, which also includes the internet radio station Beats 1, fronted by ex-Radio 1 DJ Zane Lowe. At its Worldwide Developer’s Conference in June 2016, Apple announced an upcoming overhaul of Music, which will see it add lyrics and daily curated playlists as well as an overall redesign simplifying menus and texts.
If Apple did acquire Tidal and its subscriber base, the combined streaming service would still be a long way behind Spotify in terms of subscriber numbers. Spotify now has 30 million paid users and 45 million more people who use the free version of the streaming service. Earlier this year it raised $1 billion (£695 million) in debt financing to help it take on rivals Apple, Tidal and YouTube.