Breaking: Apple (Not Google) In Discussions to Purchase Tidal…

But will regulators approve the acquisition?

Apple is now considering a purchase of Tidal, according to details just published by the Wall Street Journal.  Citing ‘people familiar with the matter,’ the Journal pointed to ‘exploratory talks’ but offered nothing on deal terms.

A sale would give Tidal owner Jay Z a considerable windfall, and a nice digital music ‘flip’.  Roughly one year ago, Jay Z purchased then-WiMP for $56 million from Aspiro, before re-branding the app and bringing in a cadre of high-profile artist partners.  That was closely followed by a string of massive exclusives, with Kanye West among the illustrious participants.

Laughably, the news follows an April Fools’ joke about a Tidal acquisition by Google, with a $1.4 billion price tag attached.  That drew the ire of Tidal attorneys, perhaps because of complications with the real suitor.  As for the price tag, that’s anyone’s guess, though Apple recently blew north of $3 billion on its Beats acquisition.

Apple Remains Under Federal Investigation Over Apple Music Practices…

The report comes at a strange time for Apple, which is now under federal investigation for predatory practices.  A focal point of that investigation involves Apple Music, and specifically, cumbersome fees that Apple charges rivals like Spotify to exist on its iOS-based iPhone ecosystem.   That could greatly complicate any efforts to purchase Tidal, especially given the direct impact the acquisition would have on rivals like Spotify.  In fact, there’s a very solid chance the buyout would be defeated.

Meanwhile, Tidal is flexing some impressive subscription numbers.  Most recently, Tidal reported 4.2 million paying subscribers, and earlier, claimed 1.5 million takers for its higher-fidelity, $20-a-month plan.  Those are impressive numbers, though the bigger bang could come from artist exclusives, and area that Apple Music is investing heavily.

Oh, and we had to ask: where’s the competitive bid from Spotify?

More as it develops.

16 Responses

  1. Tim F.

    “But will regulators approve the acquisition?”

    Yes, of course, why wouldn’t they? Music is a diverse ecosystem of live performances, merchandise, vinyl, CDs, the almighty download, streams, marketing, branding, etc. Tidal makes up a tiny share.

    This is Tidal circling the bowl, looking for buyers. Apple may want to buy it’s artists if it can, but likely at their price or their terms. If Apple gets outbid, they’re not hurt in anyway and the buyer is likely no better either.

    • Anonymous

      “If Apple gets outbid”

      I hope it will be — and I hope that bidder will be Twitter! 🙂

      Imagine that: Artist friendly structure, music videos and CD-qualilty streaming, combined with today’s best social media — especially now that Facebook isn’t relevant anymore.

      That combo could beat YouTube. (I really, really don’t understand why YouTube never replaced its terrible, no-good, horryfying comment section with something like Twitter.)

  2. Name2

    Great! Can’t wait until Apple relieves me of lossless streaming, substitutes their uniquely distinguished crappy sound, AND deletes existing music files on my hard drive!!

    A bargain at twice Tidal’s price!

    • Paul Resnikoff

      Bloatware iTunes Borg will assimilate all platforms and collections!

  3. Remi Swierczek

    UMG Trojan Horse, J.I. covering mega star buddies from TIDAL investment loss!

    Apple intoxicated with Ek’s super DOPE is just accelerating the inferno of $200B of perfect goods to $15B of subs!

  4. Nicky Knight

    Apple be careful because Tidal will want a lot more money than what it’s worth..

    Yes Tidal have a hifi option but the music streaming public could care less about it and everyone knows Tidal is just a vanity project of an over-wealthy self-absorbed select few to gloat about.

    It Apple want market share then the following might be worth considering.

    1. Buy Spotify (they’ll want way more than what it’s worth because it is still a profitless prosperity enterprise).

    2. Apple Music to offer a free music streaming option with some kind of built-in monitization that rewards both Apple and the Artists/Producers/Labels/Songwriters/Publishers.


    • danwriter

      It appears he was cut off by Apple’s assassins

  5. Sarah

    Sorry to be off topic, but how is there not yet a DMN story on the justice department’s decision to not reform the consent decrees?

  6. Sarah

    Sure do – see links in next comment (will not appear immediately).

  7. Lest it be overlooked...

    It is not Tidal per se that is valuable to Apple, but rather, the artist exclusives. I have pointed out the section in the Copyright Act (definitions) which explains why this is so, yet exclusives are still signed on a daily basis it seems. That being said, I hope those artists’ are happy with their new owner if Apple decides to buy them and add them to their stable (or as they say in Vegas, their “Chicken Ranch”) and, if Apple decides not to buy them, that they will be happy with whomever and whatever owner(s) Jay-Z decides to sell them to, but I guess that it probably does not matter to the artists’ who owns them as long as the price is right, but what if it does matter?