Apple is exploring the idea of buying competing music streaming service Tidal, The Wall Street Journal reports. The report claims Apple is “exploring the idea” of buying Jay-Z’s streaming service due to Tidal’s connections to such artists as Kanye West and Madonna. Terms are unknown at this point, and the talks “may not result in a deal,” sources said — a Tidal spokesman denied that such talks had taken place. Tidal currently has 4.2 million paying subscribers, who either pay $10 for a standard monthly plan, or $20 for a hi-fi plan. Apple recently noted that Apple Music has 15 million paying subscribers.
Even if Tidal’s entire customer base was combined with Apple Music, the total subscriber base still wouldn’t measure up to Spotify’s current 30 million paid subscribers (and 70 million free users). However, Tidal’s artist-friendly reputation — and access to certain exclusives, such as Prince’s entire catalog — could still entice Apple enough to make the acquisition. Such a move is certainly not without precedent: Apple acquired Beats for $3 billion in May 2014, and integrated its Beats Music app into what eventually became Apple Music.
Adding to this streaming drama are recent accusations from Spotify that Apple is blocking its app update for anti-competitive reasons. That claim was magnified by a recent speech delivered by U.S. Senator — and possible Democratic vice presidential nominee — Elizabeth Warren, who said that Apple and other tech giants were locking out “smaller guys and newer guys.”