Sprint didn’t disclose how much money it was spending on a 33% stake in music-streaming service Tidal yesterday, but several publications have now reported the same figure: $200m.
That’s more than ten times the $56m that Jay Z paid for Tidal owner Aspiro in early 2015, before he opened up the service’s co-ownership to a group of fellow artists. And a tenfold increase in valuation despite Tidal’s subscribers only doubling from the 540,000 claimed by Aspiro just before the acquisition – although since then, Tidal’s current owners have disputed the veracity of the latter figure.
What’s not yet clear is where Sprint’s 33% stake in Tidal came from, in terms of the previous ownership. In March 2015, Billboard reported that Tidal’s starry group of 16 artist co-owners had been given a 3% stake each in the company – stakes that would be worth $18m apiece now at the Sprint-deal valuation.
As The Verge pointed out yesterday, it’s not known to what extent those artists cashed out in the new investment, or whether Sprint bought shares owned by Jay Z, labels or the other investor involved in the Aspiro acquisition.
Regardless of who cashed out, analysts are picking over the potential impact of the deal for Tidal, at a time of anticipated consolidation in the global music-streaming market.
“This deal gives Tidal access to Sprint’s customer base, free marketing (well free to Tidal at least) and a war chest to take on the streaming incumbents,” suggested Midia Research’s Mark Mulligan.
“Tidal is not about to suddenly become the global streaming leader but it can now, with a fair wind, become a serious player in the US.”