Apple has shut down rumours that it is interested in buying Jay Z’s music streaming service, Tidal.
“We’re really running our own race,” music business heavyweight Jimmy Iovine, who runs Apple Music, told BuzzFeed. “We’re not looking to acquire any streaming services.”
In June, The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple was “in talks” with Tidal about a possible acquisition. Then in July, Kanye West fanned the rumour flames by tweeting this: “Apple give Jay his check for Tidal now and stop tying to act like you Steve [Jobs].”
An Apple/Tidal deal would make sense in the context of securing Apple more exclusives, which have been a central piece of both Apple Music and Tidal’s strategy.
But rival Spotify has declared they are bad for artists and fans alike, and the winds may be changing to Spotify’s side of the debate.
Universal’s CEO reportedly sent a memo in August to stop giving anyone — Spotify, Apple Music, and so on — long-term exclusives. This was big news, considering Universal is a major label that has provided Apple Music with many of its blockbuster exclusives, like Drake.
Show me the money
If exclusives aren’t the way of the future, or Apple doesn’t think Tidal and Jay Z’s pull is worth it, there seems to be little other reason for the company to buy it.
Tidal lost $28 million last year, according to a legal filing reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. That’s twice as much as it lost in the year before Jay Z took control of Aspiro, Tidal’s Swedish holding company. In 2015, Aspiro lost 239 million Swedish kronor, while in 2014, it lost 88.9 million. Tidal has also reportedly failed to pay over 100 outstanding bills.
And Apple wouldn’t exactly be buying a massive user base. Tidal said that, as of June, it had 4.2 million paid subscribers. That is well behind Spotify’s 40 million (September) and Apple Music’s 17 million (September).
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