US telecoms company Sprint has acquired a 33 per cent stake in Jay Z’s subscription-based music streaming platform Tidal – that will give Sprint customers unlimited access to exclusive artist content. The fee paid was undisclosed.
Jay Z and the artist-owners will continue to run Tidal, but the partnership will see Sprint’s CEO Marcelo Claure join Tidal’s board of directors.
“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…” said Claure.
As part of the deal, Sprint will establish a ‘dedicated marketing fund’ specifically for artists. This fund intends to provide artists with flexibility to create and share their work with and for their fans.
“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.
News of Sprint’s acquisition comes days after Norwegian publication Dagens Næringsliv reported that it had received internal documentation proving Tidal had been inflating subscriber numbers. The same publication claimed, in September, that Tidal had failed to pay over 100 outstanding bills – with money owed to ad agencies, record labels, music festivals and the company that owns its head office.
Tidal was acquired, as part of Aspiro, by Jay Z’s Project Panther in January 2015. It was relaunched in March of the same year, with the help of a number of celebrities to promote it.