Apple is allegedly in talks to acquire Tidal, according to a source at the Wall Street Journal, while respected New York Times music journalist Ben Sisario quotes his sources as saying that Apple has no intention of purchasing Jay Z’s music streaming service. We’ve been around this mulberry bush before when claims were published with Samsung as a potential buyer.
Whoever turns out to be wrong or right, the thought of Apple buying Tidal is an intriguing concept. Here is a breakdown of some of the possible pros and cons:
PRO: A Big Payday for Jay Z and his celebrity partners/co-owners – A big pay day may not help the average artist, but it sure would make Kayne West, Rhianna, Usher, T.I. and the other top tier artists who each own a reported 2% of Tidal. It’s also safe to say, Jay Z is known to like money too.
CON: He’d be going back on his word to fans and Tidal’s artist/partners – Jay Z launched Tidal as an artist friendly alternative to corporate backed streaming music services. Is anyone more big business than Apple?
PRO: Apple Love – If you had to sell out to the “man,” who is cooler than Apple?
CON: Apple Hateration – Jay Z has been very vocal in his criticisms of Apple Music and a recent Apple app store rejection is said to have created more bad blood, as it has with Spotify.
PRO: Exclusive Consolidation – Apple and Tidal are the two music streamers that have bet big on “exclusives.” Putting them all under one roof could drive subscriptions…until the monthly fee increases.
CON: Does Apple Music really need to buy Tidal? Apple reportedly has 15 million plus subscribers.
The Big PRO is the Battle against Spotify – Not only would Apple be able to position itself as the “artist friendly” service by adding 4-5 million Tidal subscribers to it’s expanding subscriber base, it also puts Apple within striking distance of Spotify’s 30 million paid.
For both sides from a pure business economic perspective, the pros would seem to outweigh the cons. Everyone stay tuned as the “saga” continues because this would not be the first or last time that “swag-a-tude” has been squashed by receipt of a big check.
Don’t for four good minutes think that Apple will rest on their laurels and not constantly seek out acquisitions to bolster their position as the market leader in this scenario. In the meantime, have a post holiday glass of lemonade and “talk amongst yourselves.”
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