Samsung has restarted talks with Jay Z to take Tidal off his hands, several sources told the New York Post’s Claire Atkinson. The South Korea-based electronics company, which teamed with Jay Z in the smooth high-profile launch of 2013’s Magna Carta…Holy Grail and with Roc Nation’s Rihanna in the rocky launch of ANTI last month, has held on-and-off talks with Tidal.
There’s also there’s some chatter that Samsung may have written a check to Kanye West for its involvement in the eagerly anticipated The Life of Pablo, according to HITS industry insider I.B. Bad.
“Samsung is re-engaging,” a source close to talks posited to Atkinson. “They are working on something really big, and they’re keeping it very quiet in case it leaks.”
In I.B.’s upcoming column, he further points out that insiders believe Tidal is hemorrhaging north of $10m a year in red ink, and recent exclusives from Rihanna, Kanye and Beyoncé don’t appear to have generated new subscribers in sufficient numbers to make the business sustainable. Whatever happens next, Jay Z’s woman behind the scenes Desiree Perez will be deeply involved. She’s riding herd over Tidal as well as Roc Nation and Roc Nation Sports, cuts all the deals for these entities and is known as a notoriously tough negotiator.
Google and Spotify have also been eyeing Tidal in the belief that the premium service, though struggling, can bolster their own digital music services, Atkinson’s sources said. Spotify has discussed creating an initiative that could produce a Tidal “powered by Spotify” partnership rather than an acquisition.
“The pressure is definitely on,” said one source, adding that Tidal is having trouble paying some of its royalty bills on time. Jay Z has reached into his own pocket to help boost the company, another source noted, echoing a reveal from I.B., who’d reported last April that Tidal was being romanced by prospective investors Sprint and SoftBank, dalliances that came to nothing.
“Tidal certainly needs a new home to stay alive,” said a so-called “music industry insider.”
Around the time of the launch, Tidal principals believed it was worth as much as $250m. It’s presently believed to be valued at about $100m.
Samsung and Tidal declined to comment on the Post story.
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