Why Apple buying Tidal makes sense
Apple is apparently in exploratory talks to acquire Jay Z's streaming service Tidal, for an undisclosed amount, according to The Wall Street Journal. Recode later confirmed the talks, though the sale might not happen, according to Ben Sisario, the excellent music reporter at The New York Times. Either way, the potential of this seems insane for a number of reasons, first among which are suggestions that Apple was actively engaging in a smear campaign against Tidal last year, and secondly Tidal owner Jay Z's general disdain for the company. But it also makes sense for both parties, given the uphill battle they both have surpassing Spotify to become the top streaming service (Apple's road is way, way, way easier, but still), and the synergies that exist between the two companies.
Let's go over why this is could work.
1. All exclusive streaming deals come under one roof
Exclusive album releases aren't going anywhere, and the two players in that game are Apple Music and Tidal. Spotify has said it won't engage in the exclusive game, which means there is potential for Apple Music to become the sole place for new music from big artists on their release day.
Now, there's no guarantee that artists that have an ownership stake in Tidal would have the same incentive to release their content exclusively on Apple Music without the same benefits (I wouldn't bet on Lil Wayne getting his ownership shares from Tidal transferred over to Apple), but a nice check from Apple can make everyone friends again. If Apple does manage to keep all the Tidal artists, it's feasible that Apple could catch up with Spotify's 30 million paid users in the next year or so (the acquisition of Tidal alone would push it to nearly 20 million paid subscribers), but that 100 million number looms large, and Apple will have to make some changes to reach that target.
The easiest way is to become the official home for new music...