Square Inc., the digital payment company run by Jack Dorsey, has held talks on acquiring music streaming service Tidal as part of a push to diversify, according to a person familiar with the situation.
Dorsey has discussed a potential deal with Jay-Z, the rapper and music mogul who bought Tidal for $ 56 million in early 2015, said the person who asked not to be identified because the talks were private. The negotiations may not result in a transaction.
Square declined to comment, while Tidal did not respond to requests for comment.
Tidal, first launched in 2014, has struggled to keep up with other streaming services, including Spotify Technology SA and Apple Music. Jay-Z’s own music has been a lure to the platform, but he put his songs back on Spotify last year – raised questions about Tidal’s health. The close-knit service has not reported subscriber numbers since saying it had 3 million paying customers in 2016.
Meanwhile, Dorsey has ambitions to build Square into a much broader company consisting of stand-alone ancillary services. Square’s two core products, Square Seller and Cash App, already operate somewhat separately within Square Inc., each with its own “lead” on the management team. It is believed that Dorsey, who spent more than four years on the board of Walt Disney Co., imagines that Square will similarly own a collection of businesses under a common umbrella.
It was Dorsey photographed in August in the Hamptons with Jay-Z and his wife, Beyoncé, and then again in December with power couple and actor Sean Penn on a beach in Hawaii.
Tidal’s owners include nearly two dozen high-profile artists, including Beyoncé, Alicia Keys, Coldplay, Madonna, Rihanna and others, according to its website. The service is available in 53 countries and offers more than 60 million songs and 250,000 videos.
The service has tried to use its star power to offer experiences that complement its music. This includes a Rihanna runway show in Paris that was streamed for Tidal members as well as charity concerts by Jay-Z and Beyoncé.
– With the help of Scott Moritz