Apple in Talks to Acquire Jay Z's Tidal (Report)

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Jay Z

Purchasing Tidal would give Apple Music one less competitor in a crowded streaming music space.

Apple is holding early talks about acquiring Jay Z's music streaming service, Tidal, according to The Wall Street Journal

The newspaper, citing unnamed sources, characterized the talks as "ongoing" and said they might not lead to a deal. The news comes after reports that Tidal has been shopping for potential buyers, including holding talks last year with Napster, the company formally called Rhapsody.

The sale of Tidal, which Jay Z launched last year with support from artists including Kanye West, Rihanna and Madonna, would bring about consolidation in an increasingly competitive music streaming space.

Spotify remains the largest service with 30 million subscribers. Apple joined the fray in 2015 with Apple Music and already boasts 15 million members. Tidal, meanwhile, has doubled its subscriber base in the last six months, from 1 million to just over 3 million, according to CEO Jeff Toig, largely on the strength of its artist exclusives with the likes of West and Beyonce.

But the service also has seen a wave of staff departures with Toig, formerly of SoundCloud, stepping in as its third chief executive since last year. Still, sources tell Billboard that Jay Z, who bought the fledging service from Sweden-based Aspiro in January 2015, is committed to Tidal. Another insider says that the Apple-Tidal talks are simply not true. 

One thing that is known: The streamers' battle for superiority is only intensifying, with Spotify, which has sat out the exclusivity game, reportedly claiming in recent days that Apple is intentionally blocking an update of the streaming service from its app store.  

An Apple spokesman declined to comment. Tidal representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.