Mar 4, 2021 - Economy & Business

Jack Dorsey's Square to acquire majority stake in Jay-Z's music service Tidal

Photo posted by Jack Dorsey on Twitter

Square Inc., the mobile payments company run by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, said Thursday it plans to acquire a majority stake in Tidal, the subscription music streaming service run by rap star Jay-Z.

Why it matters: Dorsey says the deal will help find "new ways for artists to support their work."

Details: Square expects to pay a mix of cash and stock worth $297 million "for a significant majority ownership stake," according to a statement.

  • Existing artist shareholders will be the remaining stakeholders and Jay-Z will be joining the Square board.
  • "TIDAL will operate independently within Square, alongside the Seller and Cash App ecosystems," the statement says.

What they're saying: "New ideas are found at the intersections, and we believe there’s a compelling one between music and the economy. Making the economy work for artists is similar to what Square has done for sellers," Dorsey wrote in a Twitter thread.

  • "I said from the beginning that TIDAL was about more than just streaming music, and six years later, it has remained a platform that supports artists at every point in their careers. Artists deserve better tools to assist them in their creative journey," Jay-Z tweeted.

Be smart: Dorsey has been championing efforts to decentralize payments on the open web via blockchain at Square, and more recently via direct payments at Twitter.

  • Twitter said last week it's creating a new feature that allows users to charge their followers for more content via a payment tool called "Super Follows."

The big picture: The announcement comes amid a renewed push within the music industry to help artists be more fairly compensated for their work.

  • On Wednesday, SoundCloud said it was overhauling its royalties model to begin directly sending subscriber money to artists.
  • The streaming era has forced many musicians to turn to things like concerts and merchandise to make money. Amid the pandemic, much of that revenue has disappeared.

Flashback: Sprint acquired 1/3 of Jay-Z's Tidal in 2017.

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