The next time an album comes out, you may need to change your mobile carrier to get a listen. Today, Sprint and Tidal announced that the fourth largest mobile carrier in the world has purchased a 33-percent stake in the on-demand music subscription streaming service.
As part of the deal, Tidal and its artists will make exclusive content for Sprint customers. There are currently no details about what that exclusive content may look like, but it will be available to new and current Sprint customers.
Sprint reportedly paid $200 million for the 33-percent stake in Tidal, which is a hefty profit for owner Jay Z who bought the company in 2015 for approximately $56 million. Sprint’s involvement in Tidal’s day-to-day operations may purely relate to marketing. While Sprint’s chief executive officer, Marcelo Claure, will join Tidal’s Board of Directors, Jay Z and the artist-owners will continue to run the platform. Sprint will be involved in a marketing fund for artists.
The two companies will announce more information on the partnership at a later date, but the announcement does hint at the deal’s particulars. The press release states the partnership will “make Tidal available to its 45 million post and prepaid customers.” This suggests Jay Z’s streaming service may be pre-installed on Sprint phones.
Mobile carriers have been riding the music streaming wave recently. Spanish-based mobile carrier Telefonica purchased a stake in Rhapsody in 2013 (which has since been rebranded globally as Napster) to provide its streaming service to subscribers. T-Mobile does not count streams against data usage from any of the major on-demand subscription music streaming services as part of its Binge On program.
Tidal has built its brand on exclusives, offering albums and live concert streams from Beyonce, Kanye West, Rihanna, and dozens of other artists last year. If the deal proceeds as planned, Sprint customers could soon be enjoying exclusive tracks from some of the most popular artists on the planet.
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