Jack Dorsey’s financial services company Square has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire a majority ownership stake in Tidal.
Square expects to pay a mix of cash and stock of $297 million for a significant majority ownership stake, and existing artist shareholders will be the remaining stakeholders. Tidal will operate independently within Square, alongside the Seller and Cash App ecosystems.
According to a statement, the acquisition “extends Square’s purpose of economic empowerment to a new vertical: musicians”.
“With Cash App, Square has made financial services more relatable and accessible to millions of customers, many of whom have been historically overlooked and underserved,” added the statement. “Square sees an opportunity to leverage those learnings to help musicians find new ways to support their work and make better decisions through Tidal.”
As CEO and founder of Twitter, Dorsey has not felt the need to license the social media platform for music streaming, which has long been a concern for the music industry.
But he now has a bold agenda for bringing together streaming platform Tidal and his financial services operation.
“It comes down to one simple idea: finding new ways for artists to support their work,” said Dorsey, co-founder and CEO of Square. “New ideas are found at intersections, and we believe there’s 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.”
"I said from the beginning that Tidal was about more than just streaming music, and six years later, it has remained a platform that supports artists at every point in their careers,” said Shawn Carter (Jay-Z). “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!”
Tidal has a global presence with listeners in more than 56 countries and relationships with more than 100 labels and distributors.
“Tidal sets a high standard for supporting artists, capturing music culture, and delivering the best audio quality to fans,” said Jesse Dorogusker, a Square executive who will serve as interim lead of Tidal upon the closing of the transaction. “Square has also set a high standard for building elegant, accessible, and fair tools for sellers and individuals to economically empower them. Together, Tidal and Square will be music-obsessed and artist-focused while we explore new artist tools, listener experiences, and access to financial systems that help artists be successful.”
As a Tidal board member and shareholder, Shawn Carter is expected to join Square’s board of directors subject to the closing of the transaction. In addition to Jay-Z, all of Tidal’s artist shareholders will continue to be co-owners after the deal closes.
PHOTO CREDITS: Raven Varona/Hermione Hodgson.