Sprint today announced that it has acquired a 33 percent stake in Jay Z's music streaming service Tidal, which the carrier said will soon give its customers "unlimited access to exclusive artist content not available anywhere else." Under the deal, artists partnering with Tidal will create music only available to new and existing Sprint customers.
As part of the deal, Sprint's chief executive officer Marcelo Claure will also join Tidal's board of directors. The carrier mentioned that Tidal will continue to function as normal, and Jay Z will remain in charge of the streaming service's artists and music content. In a statement, Jay Z said that Sprint understands and shares Tidal's goal of creating a dynamic and revolutionary addition to the streaming music service industry.
“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. “Marcelo understood our goal right away and together we are excited to bring Sprint’s 45 million customers an unmatched entertainment experience.”
Artists under Tidal will gain access to a dedicated marketing fund provided by Sprint, which the carrier says "will allow artists the flexibility to create and share their work with and for their fans." Further information about the Sprint/Tidal partnership will be coming soon.
Apple was thought to be interested in acquiring Tidal last summer in an effort to further boost Apple Music, but the company eventually denied those reports with Apple Music executive Jimmy Iovine saying "we're not looking to acquire any streaming services." Apple Music and Tidal have been competitors since their launch, each promoting exclusive artist deals with a rivalry that Kanye West said is negatively affecting the music industry as a whole.