Despite the recent reports that TIDAL has been inflating their subscriber numbers, Sprint has agreed to purchase a 33% stake in the majority Jay Z owned streaming service.
According to a press release sent out this morning (January 23), Sprint’s 45 million retail customers will gain unlimited access to exclusive artist content that is "not available anywhere else."
"Sprint shares our view of revolutionizing the creative industry to allow artists to connect directly with their fans and reach their fullest, shared potential," Jay Z said in a statement.
Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure will join TIDAL's board of directors as a result of the partnership but insists the company will still be run by its artist-owners.
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Given the rollercoaster ride that TIDAL has been on over the last 365 days, which has included Apple walking away from an acquisition, lawsuits over Kanye's The Life of Pablo album release, a report that they're struggling to pay independent labels, an announced $28 million loss for the 2015 fiscal year and a failed attempt to purchase Prince's unreleased vault of music, this is great news for Jay Z and company.
Much like Tidal has struggled to compete with Spotify and Apple Music, Sprint Corp, which has a market cap of 35.55 billion and has seen their stock price rise six points year over year, is in a constant battle for market share with AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile.
Most of the headlines will suggest this partnership is a huge win for TIDAL, but Sprint stands to benefit just as much. Unlike Verizon customers who own an iPhone and subscribe to Apple Music but have to worry about data overage charges, Sprint offers their customer base unlimited data. An unlimited data plan combined with unlimited music streaming should lead to a lot of converts, especially those with a proclivity for instant access to exclusive releases—TIDAL's calling card the past two years.
While terms of the deal were not disclosed, according to Fortune, TIDAL held an industry value at $100 million in 2016, which would make Sprint's stake worth approximately $33 million.
Update: According to Forbes, Sprint purchased a 33% stake in TIDAL for a reported $200 million. Wow.