Of all of summer’s rumored music collaborations, Apple’s potential acquisition of Tidal looked the most promising. The gadget-and-tunes mega-company was reportedly considering buying Jay Z’s fledgling streaming service, which boasts so many artists in its ownership that Tidal’s stockholders meetings could double for the Grammys. That star-studded board meant Tidal could easily nab exclusives on new albums from Beyoncé, Kanye, Rihanna, and even Madonna. Unfortunately for the investors—and subscribers, most of whom only signed up for the service for the exclusives—those exclusives were often a short-lived thing.
So when The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple was contemplating acquiring Tidal, it looked like the smart move. At 4.2 million, Tidal’s subscriber base isn’t huge, not when compared to Spotify’s 40 million and change, for example. It’s also less than half the 17 million that Apple Music currently has, but the artist exclusives were presumably enough for Apple to give Tidal the time of day. But Apple Music chief Jimmy Iovine has just refuted those rumors, telling BuzzFeed News that “We’re really running our own race. We’re not looking to acquire any streaming services.” Iovine didn’t reveal what Apple would in fact be doing to keep up with Spotify, but the service did pick up two million new subscribers in just the last three months, so something’s got to be working for them. Maybe it’s that Kanye West album that was never going to make it to Apple Music.