Mergers and acquisitions
In 2014, Apple bought Beats, the headphones and music service owned by Dr. Dre and music mogul Jimmy Iovine. Now, the company is in talks to buy Jay Z's music streaming service, Tidal, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing "people familiar with the matter." The deal would unite "East Coast and West Coast rap under a single business interest," The Journal notes, but it would also expand Apple's growing Apple Music empire and potentially give the consumer electronics giant access to Tidal's roster of top artists. A Tidal spokesman said no company executives have met with Apple.
Tidal, which doesn't offer a free service, says it has 4.2 million paying subscribers, while Apple Music reports 15 million paying subscribers. Spotify, in contrast, has some 30 million paying and 70 million free users. Tidal's subscription numbers have grown in the past year due to exclusive online access to music by musicians like Beyoncé, Kanye West, Rihanna, and Prince. "I would be surprised if this doesn't happen," music industry analyst Bob Lefsetz tells USA Today. Apple is "at war with Spotify," and Tidal has "very limited options," he added. "Jay Z bought it to sell it and who's going to buy it? Amazon is the only other option and it's going in a different direction."