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Sorry, Kanye: Apple doesn’t want to buy Tidal

Reuters/Mario Anzuoni
99 problems and this is one.
By Amy X. Wang
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

There were high hopes. Earlier this summer, reports emerged (paywall) that Apple was in talks to buy Tidal, the subscription music streaming service headed by rapper Jay Z, and merge it with its own Apple Music platform.

Such a move would’ve pumped up the latter’s star power—Tidal is known for its string of exclusive deals with big artists like Beyoncé and Prince—while also fishing Tidal out of financially wobbly waters. Support was loud and public from at least one Kanye West, a staunch advocate (and part owner) of Tidal:

But, seems it was for naught. Apple Music head Jimmy Iovine told BuzzFeed News in a new interview that Apple is “really running our own race” and “not looking to acquire any streaming services.” Though Iovine neither confirmed nor denied that talks had taken place, the final message is clear: Apple’s not interested.

Tidal, since its launch, has faced a series of stumbles including management turmoil, complaints from listeners about technical glitches, lawsuits against its exclusive artist deals, and most recently big losses and mounting debt.

Its 4 million subscriber base is dwarfed by those of Apple Music (17 million) and Spotify (40 million). However, Tidal’s unique high-fidelity subscription tier and its ties with big-shot artists still give it a bit of an edge; a deal down the line with mightier rivals may not be entirely out of the question.

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