Business News Digital Top Stories

Samsung considering Tidal acquisition again, apparently

By | Published on Friday 26 February 2016


Good news for fans of Samsung buying Tidal rumours. There’s a new Samsung buying Tidal rumour! These are glorious times in which we live. The New York Post cites several sources that say that the tech giant is back in talks with Jay-Z and Roc Nation about taking ownership of the streaming music platform.

Samsung has been tipped as a possible buyer for Tidal before. The streaming music firm, which began life as Scandinavian start-up WiMP, was bought by Jay-Z a year ago, of course, and then relaunched via an all-star press event that all PR students will now, and for the foreseeable future, study as part of a class called “how not to relaunch your product”.

Nevertheless, the service now boasts over a million subscribers and continues to pursue the ‘artist exclusives’ strategy it set out after presenting its long line of celebrity shareholders last March (or “cringe of popstars”, to use the technical term).

Though, of course, that still puts Tidal a long way behind its key competitors like Apple Music and Spotify, and in the streaming music business deep pockets are more important than celebrity friends. While Jay-Z may have deep pockets for an individual, they are not deep when compared to those of Apple Inc or Spotify’s venture capital backers, who all wear very big coats indeed.

When Jay-Z first bought Tidal, it was thought phone firm Sprint may become a corporate backer, though that wasn’t to be. Samsung was then tipped as a possible investor, mainly because of the existing brand partnership relationship that existed between the consumer electronics giant and both Jay-Z and his Roc Nation business.

The Post reckons that both Google and Spotify have also courted Tidal in the last year, the latter possibly proposing more of partnership along the lines of “Tidal powered by Spotify”, presumably where the latter could provide the core streaming service, with the former layering on the exclusives.

But, say those pesky sources, it’s Samsung which is again talking to Mr Z and the often changing Team Tidal. “Samsung is re-engaging”, the source tells the Post. “They are working on something really big. But they’re keeping it very quiet in case it leaks”.

Other sources reckon that Tidal could do with any Samsung deal coming along sooner rather than later, with the high costs of running a loss-leading streaming platform starting to put a strain on the business and its music industry owners. Better to have a big tech industry player to cover those ongoing losses, and allow the music types to worry more about differentiating the product and signing up fans, rather than paying the bills.

Neither Tidal or Samsung have as yet commented on this latest speculation.