Photo by Kevin Mazur
In an interesting turn of events, it appears Apple is in discussions to acquire music streaming platform Tidal, which is co-owned by Jay Z, Beyoncé, Rihanna and a number of other high-profile musicians.
The Wall Street Journal first reported the news, which comes just hours after reports that Spotify accused Apple of deliberately rejecting its iOS app update in an effort to block competition for its own Apple Music service.
According to the Journal's sources, one of the main and obvious reasons for such a merger between Apple Music and Tidal would be because of the latter's ties to so many A-list artists in a time when the two companies have been competing for exclusive releases and premieres.
A potential deal with Tidal wouldn't be Apple's first acquisition of a property from a big-name rapper, as the tech giant in 2014 purchased Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine's Beats Electronics and Beats Music for $3 billion.
That buy paved the way for what is now Apple Music. But as we previously reported, the new platform is facing pressure to match (and surpass) fellow streaming service Spotify's 30 million in paying subscribers (100 million total users).
Despite offering several flashy features, such as high fidelity sound, Tidal's value remains in its ownership, which includes Madonna, Alicia Keys, Usher, J. Cole, Daft Punk and other artists.
Jay Z bought Tidal early last year for $56 million from Swedish company Aspiro. The service, which charges $10 for its standard package or $20 for its "high-fi" upgrade, currently has 4.2 million users.
Contrary to reports, a Tidal spokesperson denies any conversations with Apple have taken place. For its part, Apple declined to comment.
It's worth noting this isn't the first time this year reports surfaced of a possible Tidal acquisition, as Samsung was said to be interested back in March.
Unlike the fizzled Samsung rumors, however, Apple might have many more reasons—perhaps as many as 3 billion—to make such a deal work.