And now, in Apple news that’s less “super-evil and potentially freedom threatening,” and more, “Huh, guess that was inevitable,” The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the tech giant is in “exploratory talks” with the Jay-Z owned music streaming service Tidal, about the possibility of acquiring the music company—and access to its enviable stable of exclusive and semi-exclusive performers. The WSJ cites “people familiar with the matter” as its sources on the story, although it’s worth noting that spokespeople for Tidal are denying that any such meetings have taken place.
Tidal launched last year with a healthy handful of fanfare and braggadocio, as Jay-Z and artists like Nicki Minaj, Madonna, and Jack White all touted its high-quality streams and artists-first mentality. For many consumers, though, it quickly become “that thing I got a free trial to so I could hear the new Beyonce/Rihanna/Kanye album,” with the service’s lack of a Spotify-esque free version off-setting its status as the place where many of music’s most exciting performers were choosing to debut new stuff.
Apple presumably wants to take that tasty reputation for itself, and its own Apple Music. Launched a year ago today, Apple’s streaming service has made huge strides over the last 12 months, registering 13 million users as of April. But that formidable growth still puts it at less than half of the 30 million Spotify can claim. Acquiring access to albums like Kanye West’s The Life Of Pablo, or the entirety of Prince’s Tidal-exclusive studio work, would go a long way toward closing the gap between Apple’s product and the well-established competition.