Apple is reportedly in talks to purchase Tidal, and independent artists everywhere may be holding their breath. Though a Tidal spokesman told the Wall Street Journal that no executives from the streaming service have spoken with Apple, several outlets have reported “ongoing” talks.
Tidal has had a rocky first year under Jay Z’s guidance. The legendary rapper purchased the service in March 2015, promising a by-the-artist, for-the-artist platform. The braintrust of the company has experienced relatively frequent upheaval and the Wall Street Journal notes it hasn’t grossed “significant revenue.”
Despite the much-publicized travails, the service has stayed true to their artist first ethos. Though the service is being sued by The American Dollar band for unpaid wages, no further artists have come forward to complain. With original content like Beyonce’s Lemonade project and the Erykah Badu starring –which employed a slew of independent artists–Tidal has carved a niche as a haven for independent creative to craft content outside of industry norms.
How would that atmosphere change under the thumb of almighty Apple? Would the service still exist, or is Apple solely interested in the exclusive rights to music from Beyonce, Rihanna, and the late Prince?
Given Jay Z’s entrepreneurial spirit, news of a potential cash out isn’t surprising. That said, if Apple ends up buying Tidal, it may strike a blow to the pockets of indie artists everywhere.