Square, Inc. (NYSE: SQ) announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire a majority ownership stake in TIDAL, the global music and entertainment platform that brings fans and artists together through unique music, content, and experiences.
Square expects to pay a mix of cash and stock of $297 million for a significant majority ownership stake, and existing artist shareholders will be the remaining stakeholders. TIDAL will operate independently within Square, alongside the Seller and Cash App ecosystems.
The acquisition extends Square’s purpose of economic empowerment to a new vertical: musicians. Artists are entrepreneurs with a dream and deserve access to systems, tools, and financial freedom to reach those dreams at every stage in their career. Square has helped millions of businesses start, run, and grow by providing them with tools needed for success. With Cash App, Square has made financial services more relatable and accessible to millions of customers, many of whom have been historically overlooked and underserved. Square sees an opportunity to leverage those learnings to help musicians find new ways to support their work and make better decisions through TIDAL.
“It comes down to one simple idea: finding new ways for artists to support their work,” said Jack Dorsey, cofounder and CEO of Square. “New ideas are found at intersections, and we believe there’s a compelling one between music and the economy. I knew TIDAL was something special as soon as I experienced it, and it will continue to be the best home for music, musicians, and culture.”
“I said from the beginning that TIDAL was about more than just streaming music, and six years later, it has remained a platform that supports artists at every point in their careers,” said Shawn “JAY-Z” Carter. “Artists deserve better tools to assist them in their creative journey. Jack and I have had many discussions about TIDAL’s endless possibilities that have made me even more inspired about its future. This shared vision makes me even more excited to join the Square board. This partnership will be a game-changer for many. I look forward to all this new chapter has to offer!”
TIDAL is the only music service built by artists, for artists—which is now more important than ever as consumers look for authentic digital connections with their favorite artists. TIDAL offers the premier listening experience, with superior sound quality and an extensive catalog of more than 70 million songs and 250,000 high-quality videos. TIDAL puts the fan experience at the center of every decision, providing artists direct access to their audience and allowing fans deeper connections to their favorite artists through original, exclusive, and curated content and events. TIDAL has a global presence with listeners in more than 56 countries and relationships with more than 100 labels and distributors.
“TIDAL sets a high standard for supporting artists, capturing music culture, and delivering the best audio quality to fans,” said Jesse Dorogusker, a Square executive who will serve as interim lead of TIDAL upon the closing of the transaction. “Square has also set a high standard for building elegant, accessible, and fair tools for sellers and individuals to economically empower them. Together, TIDAL and Square will be music-obsessed and artist-focused while we explore new artist tools, listener experiences, and access to financial systems that help artists be successful.”
TIDAL board member and shareholder Shawn “JAY-Z” Carter is expected to join Square’s Board of Directors subject to the closing of the transaction. A distinguished and acclaimed artist, businessman, and philanthropist, Carter founded preeminent entertainment company Roc Nation and sports agency Roc Nation Sports, launched and owns the successful “Made In America” festival, and executive-produced award-winning documentaries, among other achievements. Over the years, Carter has remained relentlessly committed to giving back to underserved communities, including through his work with the Shawn Carter Foundation and The REFORM Alliance.
In addition to JAY-Z, all of TIDAL’s artist shareholders will continue to be co-owners of TIDAL after the deal closes.
Based on current information, Square does not expect TIDAL’s financial results to have a material impact on Square’s consolidated revenue or gross profit in 2021. The completion of this transaction is subject to customary closing conditions including regulatory approvals. The parties expect to close the transaction in the second quarter of 2021. Square was primarily advised by Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP as legal advisors and TIDAL was advised by Reed Smith LLP and Cummings & Lockwood LLC as legal advisors.