Yet another major wireless carrier in the United States is making a move to expand into digital media. Sprint has recently announced this week that it has purchased one third of Tidal, the music streaming subscription service owned by rap superstar Jay Z and other music recording stars. Sure, Sprint’s move may not be as big as Verizon Wireless’ and AT&T’s, but it is a significant one nonetheless.
By buying one third of Tidal, Sprint is now looking to provide its subscriber base with unlimited access to music content exclusive only to Tidal. In terms of leadership, Marcelo Claure, the chief executive officer of the wireless carrier, will also serve as one of the members of the music streaming service’s board of directors. Sprint has decided not to disclose the full terms of the deal, but according to a report published by MarketWatch, the carrier may have paid a sum of $200 million to own one third of Tidal.
By way of a press statement, Jay Z has expressed excitement with regards to the deal. The hip hop mogul stated that he sees Sprint as a company that fully understands Tidal’s vision of revolutionizing an industry wherein musical artists can connect directly with their audiences. With Sprint currently boasting a customer base of some 45 million subscribers, the reach of Tidal certainly gets a boost. About a couple of years ago, Jay Z had paid $56 million in order to own the music streaming service.
As of now, Tidal offers a two tier subscription structure made available in over 50 countries around the world, giving listeners access to a library of 42.5 million songs as well as 140,000 music videos from a wide variety of recording artists. Tidal’s basic service (with zero ads) costs $10 per month, while its high quality audio option is available to subscribers willing to spend $20 every month.
Although Sprint’s move to expand into digital media is smaller in terms of scope, for sure people will compare it to similar moves by industry leaders Verizon Wireless and AT&T. Verizon had acquired AOL back in 2015 for a $4.4 billion, and effectively leveraged that move to launch its Go90 video service. As for AT&T, it had already debuted its DirecTV Now service (taking full advantage of its acquisition of the DirecTV brand a year earlier) and is working on finalizing its bid to purchase Time Warner for a whopping $85 billion.
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