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Contrary to Tidal's Denial, Sources Say Apple is in Talks with Jay Z and Company

10.6. NEWS - RUMOR
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According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple is reportedly in talks to acquire Tidal, a streaming-music service run by rap mogul Jay Z, even though a Tidal spokesman has gone on record saying that Tidal executives hadn't held talks with Apple. The report noted that Apple is exploring the idea of bringing on Tidal to bolster its Apple Music service because of Tidal's strong ties to popular artists such as Kanye West and Madonna.


The Wall Street Journal report points out that "Tidal has experienced management turmoil of late, churning through three chief executives. One of them interim and one appointed by prior management, in less than a year." Jeff Toig, former chief business officer of SoundCloud, a Berlin-based audio-sharing service, has been CEO since January."


In April Tidal and Kanye West faced a class action over the album 'The Life of Pablo' being available on iTunes, when Kanye vowed that his album would never be on iTunes to drive more subscriptions to Tidal.


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The report further noted that "Though it hasn't generated significant revenue for the industry given its relatively low subscriber numbers, Tidal has an artist-friendly reputation, thanks to its artist ownership, high-quality sound and the fact that it only offers paid subscriptions, which generate far more for the industry than ad-supported services.


Spotify AB, by contrast, the subscription-streaming leader with about 30 million subscribers and about 70 million free users, has irked some stars by refusing to let them limit their music to its paid tier.


Tidal has held exploratory talks beginning last year with other potential partners, such as the streaming service Rhapsody, according to a person familiar with the matter. Rhapsody recently changed its name to Napster." They were also rumored in March to be in talks with Samsung.


"Apple has been working to secure close relationships with recording artists. It has provided marketing assistance to artists, while also helping to pay for music videos for high-profile artists in exchange for a certain period of exclusivity on Apple Music.


A deal with Tidal would bring two of the most legendary names in hip-hop to Apple's camp, uniting East Coast and West Coast rap under a single business interest." For more on this story, read the full Wall Street report here. (Subscription required).


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