Sprint Acquires 33 Percent of TIDAL

I bet you didn't see that coming, or maybe you did. Certainly the swell of Tidal doubters and their death knells were, shall we say, premature.
NEW YORK and OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – Jan. 23, 2017 – Global music and entertainment platform TIDAL and Sprint (NYSE: S) announced today an unprecedented partnership that will soon give Sprint’s 45 million retail customers unlimited access to exclusive artist content not available anywhere else.
The press release goes on to explain that "JAY Z and the artist-owners will continue to run TIDAL’s artist-centric service". A proverbial win, win? For people who love Tidal HiFi it sure is.

And just in case you're thinking that sound quality may be brushed aside, there's this from the same press release:

The Sprint-TIDAL partnership comes on the heels of TIDAL’s recent announcement revealing the availability of “Master” quality recordings. A wide variety of content from labels and artists, including Warner Music Group’s world-renowned music catalogue, is now available in Master audio across all of TIDAL’s available markets worldwide.
According to Music Business Worldwide, that 33% piece cost Sprint "around $200M, valuing TIDAL at $600M." If you remember, Jay Z & Co. purchased Tidal for $56M just two short years ago.

udis's picture

Interesting to see what this "exclusive content" will be... perhaps "exclusive format" ie, MQA

Michael Lavorgna's picture
...exclusive *music content*. Tidal has released a number of album exclusives including Beyoncé's Lemonade.
udis's picture

"Sprint shares our view of revolutionizing the creative industry to allow artists to connect directly with their fans and reach their fullest, shared potential. Marcelo understood our goal right away and together we are excited to bring Sprint’s 45 million customers an unmatched entertainment experience." seems to me more than "music content". I guess we'll have to wait and see.

Michael Lavorgna's picture
...Tidal also has exclusive music videos, concerts, etc.
bobflood's picture

will put Tidal on a stable footing and allow it to grow its content (including MQA). A large and stable customer base is necessary to anchor the Hi-Fi offering which will include the MQA content. This is good news for those of us who care about sound quality. We need to support those offering full CD quality (using FLAC) and now hi-res (using MQA) including Tidal. There will be others entering this market this year so we will have choices.

RichardTownsend's picture

Great news - let's hope we get more MQA on TIDAL soon. And other places. It's really so much better than standard Hi-Res.

Absolute Zero's picture

That would be a reason for me to consider Sprint as my contract has been up with my current provider for 4 months now.

Maury's picture

I think it is clear that JayZ was able through his insider connections and rep to acquire the one essential requirement for streamers: Content. Sometimes entertainment stars are good businessmen/women or at least know who to hire. Sometimes however they don't know - yes Neil I am looking at you.

blang11's picture

Perhaps I'm being thick or perhaps this press release is being vague. "...will soon give Sprint’s 45 million retail customers unlimited access to exclusive artist content not available anywhere else." So does this just mean that Beyoncé or Kanye West might release exclusive content that only Sprint customers can listen to? What I WANT it to mean is that Sprint customers will have complimentary subscriptions to Tidal, and all Tidal subscribers will have access to any exclusive content. I happen to be a Sprint customer and a Tidal subscriber so that would make me a "free rider"!

hat does it mean for Sprint customers to have exclusive access to Tidal . I'm being thick, or perhaps this I WANT this announcement to mean that Sprint customers will receive free subscriptions

blang11's picture

Obviously my second paragraph was unintentional. Sorry about that.

Anton's picture

I am familiar with Sprint.

So, fellow Tidal-philes, bend over and get ready for a rate increase and decline in service. Or, maybe they'll limit the number of GB of music we can stream? ;-D

Love Tidal, Sprint is evil.

mpb020479's picture

but do healthy companies typically sell 1/3 of their company?

Michael Lavorgna's picture
But they are certainly "healthier" now ;-)
Anton's picture

One million subscribers who pay to stream...200 million for a 33% interest.

A value of 600 bucks per current subscriber.

Good for Jay Z, a quick 200 million dollar bonus on a 56 million dollar investment!

He flipped ~19 million into 200 million.

That's alot of Armand De Brignac.

stevew's picture

Considering this is the only lossless service available in the US, it's too bad their mobile apps (e.g. Apple IOS) are cartoon interfaces. The 'spinning disc' and 'suggested tracks' in your face instead of just showing the actual play queue. A couple of customization settings (Spin disc Y/N and Show Suggested Tracks Y/N) would be nice.

Fortunately for home listening I have an adult interface (Auralic Mini and Lighting DS), but for mobile listening I am so annoyed by the IOS app. And of course asking for feature requests I'm sure would just float away into the ether...

MilesFerg's picture

This year just keeps getting better. I'm already a Sprint customer, so I can't lose. To be honest, even before they started releasing MQA, I never begrudged the monthly fee for the HiFi service. I do agree with the lousy interface. I still have Spotify for finding and organizing music. Soundiiz.com then can convert the playlists to Tidal.

Michael Lavorgna's picture
Thank you for that.


Golden Ears's picture

Seeing as MQA doesn't currently work over an IOS device and only currently through a computer or through a dedicated DAC (would that be a lightning DAC or say a Meridian Explorer with an APPLE Camera Connection kit / USB adapter.

I don't really see the point.

Unless.... Perhaps, you could stream a MQA digital file via AirPlay to an Apple TV or Apple airport express and then via the optical output go into a MQA DAC to get 24/192 ?

Seriously what am I missing here? There are no MQA equipped phones are they?

keithjacksontucson's picture

I had an interesting experience, and wondered if anyone else noticed. I bought a CD of La La Land and ripped it. The engineering of the recording was bad; compressed , mushed together enough to ruin the great songs. I'd giver the sound a C-. Now Tidal has the La La Land soundtrack and the sound is much better, more open like it's been re-mastered. I 'd give it a B for sound. I'm playing both through the same music server and DAC.
What gives?