It’s been a whopping six years since JAY-Z and a squad of his famous friends launched Tidal, the streaming service for fancy people that launched with only a $20-a-month price tier and no option for a free trial (it has since become less aggressively elitist), meaning it has also been six years since everybody on the internet started dunking on Tidal for how extremely expensive it is and how it can only justify the price by locking down exclusives from JAY-Z and his famous friends—a take that some among us have even tried to push back against, but unfortunately you only get one chance to make a first impression on the internet.
Enter Jack Dorsey, co-founder and CEO of Twitter and another target of relentless dunking (to be fair, being the co-founder of Twitter is easily one of the most justifiable reasons to criticize someone). Dorsey, or “@Jack” to his friends, is also the founder and CEO of Square, the company that makes the little things that people working at merch tables and farmers’ markets have plugged into their phones (not to be confused with the company that makes Final Fantasy games). Today, Dorsey announced—on Twitter, obviously—that Square is now taking over a “majority ownership stake” in Tidal and launching a “new joint venture” that makes the artists involved in the platform the second largest group of shareholders. Dorsey coyly teases the reasoning behind this move in his tweet as well, asking why a “music streaming company and a financial services company” would “join forces.”
The answer, as suggested by JAY-Z’s own statement on the move, is that this will help turn Tidal into a more of a “platform that supports artists at every point in their careers” and one that will provide them with “better tools to assist them in their creative journey.” In other words: money. Everybody’s getting more money. Hey, good for them!