Despite the occasional massive exclusive album Tidal manages to snag, the streaming service doesn’t seem to be doing too well, as we’ve mentioned before. Now it seems that it may indeed have a future, albeit not the one it may have planned on.
Apple, no stranger to buying the companies behind streaming music services, is in talks to acquire Tidal, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal. No specific details have been mentioned, and it’s important to note that no deal may actually come out of it, but given the time and energy Apple has put into its Apple Music service, this move wouldn’t be entirely surprising.
Exclusives are becoming a more important feature when it comes to music streaming services, and while Apple has managed to snag a few from artists such as Taylor Swift, this is one area where Tidal has lead the competition. This year alone, Kanye West’s The Life of Pablo and Beyonce’s Lemonade launched exclusively on the service, and while the former eventually came to other services, it still lead to a major jump in Tidal’s subscription numbers, at least for a while.
Much of this has to do with the ownership behind the service. Jay Z owns the service, while Beyonce, West, and other artists like Rihanna — whose Anti was a timed Tidal exclusive this year — are shareholders. If Apple were to acquire Tidal, it also might suddenly have much more pull with artists when it comes to exclusives.
Spotify remains the current leader in the streaming music scene, with more than 100 million active users, 30 million of which are paid subscribers. Music discovery has much to do with this — over 40 million users worldwide use the service’s Discover Weekly playlist — but exclusives and a migrating Tidal user base could help Apple Music’s 15 million subscriber base grow quickly.
Terms of the prospective deal aren’t currently known, and a Tidal spokesperson has said that company executives haven’t talked with Apple. That said, Apple is used to being in the lead when it comes to digital music (see iTunes and the iPod), so even if it might take a while, this certainly could happen.