Jay Z is set to become a billionaire as cellphone giant Sprint buys up 33 percent his music streaming service Tidal. Jay Z bought the company for $56 million just 2 years ago and now the company is said to be worth over $600 million.
According to reports Sprint has taken a 33 percent stake in Jay Z’s streaming service, Tidal. With the deal, which Billboard reports to have cost Sprint $200 million, Jay Z and the company’s 24 artist owners will remain instated as part-owners. Sprint’s 45 million “post and prepaid” retail customers will now have access to Tidal, with company CEO Marcelo Claure joining Tidal’s board of directors.
Jay Z said in a statement:
Sprint shares our view of revolutionizing the creative industry to allow artists to connect directly with their fans and reach their fullest, shared potential. Marcelo understood our goal right away and together we are excited to bring Sprint’s 45 million customers an unmatched entertainment experience.
In a statement, Claure said:
Jay saw not only a business need, but a cultural one, and put his heart and grit into building TIDAL into a world-class music streaming platform that is unrivaled in quality and content. The passion and dedication that these artist-owners bring to fans will enable Sprint to offer new and existing customers access to exclusive content and entertainment experiences in a way no other service can.
The companies will also partner for artist exclusives, while a new marketing fund of $75 million will support artist initiatives and exclusives. Certain promotions will be exclusive to Sprint customers who subscribe to Tidal, according to a press release.
The future of Tidal’s ownership has long been in the balance. Last March, Jay Z served the service’s previous owners with claims that they inflated subscriber totals when negotiating their $56 million deal. “It became clear after taking control of Tidal and conducting our own audit that the total number of subscribers was actually well below the 540,000 reported to us by the prior owners,” a statement from Tidal read. “As a result, we have now served legal notice to parties involved in the sale.”
Streaming-only releases recently became eligible to receive Grammy Awards. 2015 marked the first year that streaming was the biggest source of recorded music revenue in the United States.