Here’s the biggest reason Apple might want to acquire Jay Z’s streaming service Tidal


A report from The Wall Street Journal published Thursday said Apple was in early talks to acquire Tidal, the music-streaming service owned by rapper Jay Z and a collection of his friends. On the face of it, that seems like a rather strange deal. Apple already has its own music-streaming service, Apple Music. And Tidal isn’t exactly a runaway success.

Many of its subscribers come through deals with telecoms companies. But there’s one big reason Tidal could be an attractive prospect for Apple: the sheer number of artists who are on board with the platform and giving it exclusives. Of course, Apple has bought a music-streaming service before. It acquired Beats, best known for its line of headphones, in 2014.

But that deal also included the company’s music-streaming platform as well as key figures inside the company like dealmaker Jimmy Iovine, Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor, and rapper Dr. Dre. If you want to know why Apple might acquire Tidal, then look at the reasons it acquired Beats. Yes, there was the music-streaming component, but far more valuable was the music-industry expertise and contacts that came with hiring someone like Iovine.

Last month a report claimed that Iovine was the driving force behind Apple’s music-streaming service. He’s the behind-the-scenes dealmaker who has been helping bring in exclusives. And which other music-streaming service is going all in on exclusives? Tidal. Acquiring Jay Z’s startup may not directly bring in a huge uptick in subscribers for Apple Music, but it would at least help Apple secure more exclusives and build relations with more people in the music industry