Tech billionaire Jack Dorsey has reportedly held talks with Jay-Z about his payments firm Square acquiring Tidal, the Brooklyn-born rapper’s music streaming service.
Dorsey — also the co-founder and CEO of Twitter — is interested in taking over Tidal in an effort to diversify Square’s business, Bloomberg News reported Wednesday, citing an unnamed source familiar with the situation.
It’s unclear how much the Cash App parent might be willing to pay for Tidal, and the discussions may not lead to a deal, according to the outlet.
But the report comes after the business duo were spotted in August lounging on a yacht in the Hamptons with Jay-Z’s wife Beyoncé. The tech tycoon and the music mogul were seen again last month hanging out on a beach with actor Sean Penn.
The talks with Dorsey appear to be the latest episode in Jay-Z’s lengthy quest to sell Tidal, which has struggled to compete with larger rivals Spotify and Apple Music, according to a music executive familiar with Tidal’s business.
The “Empire State of Mind” artist started shopping Tidal two years after he bought it for $56 million in 2015, thinking he could get $1 billion for it, the exec said. Instead of selling it outright, he got a partner in wireless carrier Sprint, bought a 33 percent stake at a $600 million valuation.
“Jay-Z has been trying to dump it [Tidal] for a long time,” the exec told The Post. “The question is, can they dump it?”
“Tidal isn’t worth anything without Jay-Z,” the source said. “If they did a deal, it would only be because of him and Tidal’s videos.”
Dragging Tidal down, according to the exec, are its sagging subscribers and lack of strong leadership thanks to four CEO departures in the last five years, including the recent exit of Richard Sanders, who joined from Kobalt Music Group.
The privately traded company doesn’t release its subscriber numbers, but reports put them between 1 million and 5 million, well below industry leader Spotify’s 286 million global subscriber base.
Tidal could nevertheless give Square an opportunity to both broaden its business model and capitalize on its loyal customer base, according to Wedbush Securities analyst Daniel Ives.
“Square already had customer trust, and there’s a cross-sale opportunity when you look at streaming,” Ives told The Post. “The company has really become an e-finance gargantuan over the last few years. This is Dorsey just further expanding their mode, potentially into music streaming.”
Dorsey also hopes to bring a wider range of products and services under Square’s roof in a setup similar to Disney, where he sat on the board for more than four years, Bloomberg reported.
But a second media exec said it’s “incredibly ironic” that Dorsey would own a music service given that Twitter has been bad about paying artists royalties. When someone posts a video or a song to Twitter, the artists has to ask for the material to be taken down because, unlike Facebook and other social media companies, Twitter won’t agree to license the content.
Tidal has touted itself as a musician-friendly streaming service, promising artists better royalties than its rivals regardless of whether they’re signed to a label. But it’s also been reportedly accused of not paying artists their royalties. Kanye West left the service in 2017 with money gripes.
Jay-Z is among more than 20 “artist-owners” of the service alongside Beyoncé, Alicia Keys, Rihanna, Madonna and others, according to its website.
Tidal was also the exclusive home of Jay-Z’s musical catalog — until he put his albums back on Spotify last year, a surprise move that spurred speculation about Tidal’s viability.
Tidal also faced a criminal probe in Norway over allegations that it inflated streaming numbers for artists including Beyoncé and Kanye West. The company denied wrongdoing.