Sprint has purchased a 33-percent stake in Tidal and the two companies will soon launch a new partnership. In a release published on Monday, the US carrier said that their collaboration will allow Sprint's customers access to exclusive content on Tidal. Billboard reports that the deal is worth approximately $200 million, citing sources close to the two companies. Sprint and Tidal are yet to announce when the transaction is going to be completed, but no major management changes are expected as a result of this deal. Jay Z and all other artists with a stake in Tidal will remain to be partial owners of the service while Sprint's Chief Executive Officer Marcelo Claure will join the company's Board of Directors.
Jay Z commemorated this occasion by saying how Sprint was quick to understand the concept behind Tidal as the Overland Park-based firm apparently shares Tidal's ambitions to change the creative industry by providing fans with a way to connect with artists directly. Sprint and Tidal promised that more news on their partnership will follow soon. It's possible that Sprint will consider zero-rating the service for its customers and possibly offer some discounts, but the wording of the announcement seemingly suggests that Sprint's customers will still have to pay for Tidal. It's expected that Sprint's customers who are already subscribed to Tidal won't incur any extra charges.
In addition to offering an improved music streaming service, this collaboration will also see Sprint and Tidal create a marketing fund for artists that will reportedly distribute $75 million on an annual basis. The fund will be aimed at financing initiatives that will be distributed exclusively through Tidal, presumably only to Sprint's customers. The first results of this partnership are expected to materialize in the coming weeks. Sprint's decision to acquire a stake in Tidal is yet another indication of an industry-wide trend that sees wireless carriers invest in content production. Mobile services providers like Sprint and AT&T are currently trying to diversify their revenue streams as their core divisions continue to face market saturation. Which likely means this will not be the last of these carrier/content announcements to come through.