Smartphone giant Samsung has restarted buyout talks with Jay Z’s Tidal streaming music service, according to the New York Post. Samsung’s interest in Tidal is nothing new. It’s had an interest in or a relationship with the 16-month old streaming music service almost since its inception, the Post notes. The smartphone maker recently spent $28 million sponsoring Rihanna’s latest Anti album and world tour. Rihanna is a partner in Tidal and is also signed to Jay Z’s Roc Nation label.
Now, however, the company has expressed interest in going farther than being a sponsor. The Post claims that sources have revealed Samsung wants to buy Tidal for a music project the company is working on.
"Samsung is re-engaging; they are working on something really big, and they’re keeping it very quiet in case it leaks," a source close to talks told the New York Post.
The Post’s sources didn’t speculate what Samsung’s possible use of Tidal would be, but it’s likely the company is trying to build a music streaming service to take on the likes of Spotify and its archrival Apple and its new Apple Music streaming music platform.
A possible buyout from Samsung would be welcome news for Tidal and Jay Z, as well as some of its other owners including Madonna, Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, and Alicia Keys. While the company, whose strengths are high-fidelity music and an artist-owned streaming platform, has surpassed 1 million paying subscribers, it has experienced missteps and is reportedly experiencing financial troubles.
"The pressure is definitely on," a source told the Post. "Tidal certainly needs a new home to stay alive," another music industry insider said.
The Post’s sources didn’t reveal the amount Samsung would be willing to pay for Tidal. At the time of its launch in October 2014 Tidal executives believed the company was worth around $250 million. Music streaming sources told the Post that it is now believed the company is worth closer to $100 million.
UPDATE: This story has been corrected remove mention of the early release of Kayne West's new album "The Life of Pablo." It was incorrectly reported that Tidal released the album early, when in fact Kayne West, and not Tidal, released his album on his website briefly before deciding he wanted to work on it more and pulling it. However, West decided to let the current version continue to stream exclusively on Tidal.