Square buys music streaming service Tidal

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Dylan Byers
·2 min read
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Jack Dorsey and Jay-Z are in business.

Dorsey announced Thursday that mobile payments company Square had acquired a majority stake in Tidal, the music streaming service owned by Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter and other artists.

Square, where Dorsey is CEO, will pay $297 million in cash and stock for majority ownership of Tidal, and Jay-Z will join Square’s board of directors. Jesse Dorogusker, Square's head of hardware, will serve as the company's interim leader.

"Why would a music streaming company and a financial services company join forces?!" Dorsey, who is also the co-founder and CEO of Twitter, wrote in a tweet announcing the news.

"It comes down to a simple idea: finding new ways for artists to support their work," he wrote. "New ideas are found at the intersections, and we believe there’s a compelling one between music and the economy."

The deal has been widely anticipated since Bloomberg reported in December that Dorsey and Jay-Z were in talks about a deal. The two men have also spent a great deal of time with each other in recent months in locales ranging from Hawaii to the Hamptons, a source familiar with their relationship said.

Square will likely use Tidal to extend its financial services to musicians, enabling them to receive direct payments from fans. Jay-Z said in a statement the deal would give artists "better tools to assist them in their creative journey."

Tidal, which Jay-Z, Beyonce and other artists acquired in 2015 for $56 million, offers subscribers early or exclusive access to music and products. The group bought it in an effort to give artists greater power over the music business.

Still, Tidal is a very small part of the music streaming market that is dominated by Apple, Amazon, Spotify and YouTube, and Square said it does not expect Tidal to have "a material impact" on Square’s profits this year.