Jay-Z is probably the busiest Black entrepreneur in the market, making one deal after another. He recently sold half of his champagne brand, Armand de Brignac, to LVMH, the luxury goods company and also launched a marijuana brand.
The rapper is back in the news after selling a majority ownership stake in Tidal audio and video music streaming service to Square, a digital payment platform run by Jack Dorsey.
Square will pay a mix of cash and stock in the value of $297 million and Tidal’s superstar shareholders, including Beyoncé, Madonna and Rihanna will remain in place, making them the second-largest co-owners. Jay-Z will join Square’s board of directors.
“Why would a music streaming company and a financial services company join forces?!,” Dorsey posted on Twitter, confirming the deal. “It comes down to a simple idea: finding new ways for artists to support their work. New ideas are found at intersections, and we believe there is a compelling one between music and the economy. I knew TIDAL was something special as soon as I experienced it, and it will continue to be the best home for music, musicians, and culture.”
In a thread, the Twitter CEO further explained: “Given what Square has been able to do for sellers of all sizes and individuals through Cash App, we believe we can now work for artists to see the same success for them, and us. We’re going to start small and focus on the most critical needs of artists and growing their fanbases.”
On his part, Jay-Z said TIDAL remains “a platform that supports artists at every point in their careers. Artists deserve better tools to assist them in their creative journey. Jack and I have had many discussions about TIDAL’s endless possibilities that have made me even more inspired about its future. This shared vision makes me even more excited to join the Square board. This partnership will be a game-changer for many. I look forward to all this new chapter has to offer!”
Jay-Z first acquired Tidal for $56 million in 2015 but the platform has since struggled to keep up with other music streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music. In 2017, Jay-Z announced that he was selling a stake in Tidal to Sprint, a telecoms company.
The $200 investment from Sprint was not enough to keep Tidal afloat as it still struggles to rival Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music. According to Forbes, the streaming service’s financial woes have been going on for years. In 2014, it lost $10.4 million, $28 million in 2015 and then nearly $44 million in 2016.