Jack Dorsey Explains Why Square Just Bought a Majority Stake in Tidal

The financial company founded by Twitter's CEO takes control of Jay-Z's music streaming service.

By Matthew Humphries

Bloomberg | Getty Images

This story originally appeared on PCMag

Square, the financial services and mobile payments company founded by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, just announced it's acquiring a majority ownership stake in Tidal.

The music streaming service was indirectly owned by well-known businessman and rapper Shawn Carter (Jay-Z), but that is set to change if the "definitive agreement" Square just signed is seen through to completion. Square will pay $297 million as a mix of cash and stock in return for the controlling stake, with the original artists becoming the second largest group of shareholders. Jay-Z is also set to join Square's Board of Directors.

"It comes down to one simple idea: finding new ways for artists to support their work," explained Dorsey. "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."

Dorsey went into more detail in a Twitter thread: "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."

"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 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!"

Related: Jay-Z and Jack Dorsey Launch a Bitcoin Development Fund

Tidal, which directly competes with services such as Spotify, Amazon Music and Apple Music, offers more than 70 million songs to listen to ad-free (with unlimited skips and offline listening available). There's also personalized song curation, artist radio channels, playlists, over 250,000 videos and livestreams. It costs $9.99 per month for the Premium service, or $19.99 per month for Tidal HiFi, which unlocks streaming audio using the lossless FLAC format and Master — the promise of "authenticated and unbroken" sound quality.

Matthew Humphries

Senior Editor

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