Payment firm Square Inc. has agreed to buy major stakes in rapper Jay-Z’s Tidal music streaming service. The $297 million deal on Thursday could popularize blockchain and other approaches to store and buy media online.
The blockchain systems that Square and Tidal help popularize are digital files, called non-fungible tokens (NFT). The NFTs serve as digital signatures to certify the authority of photos, videos, and other online media.
Square Acquiring Jay-Z’s Tidal Music
Square Chief Executive and CEO of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, said in a statement that the tie-up “comes down to one simple idea: finding new ways for artists to support their work.”
He further added that Square and Tidal will work on new listening experiences, simple integration for merchandise sales, and financial tools for artists, to bring fans closer.
Avivah Litan, a technology analyst at consulting company Gartner, favors that the new offerings could take advantage of emerging technologies such as blockchain and cryptocurrencies. He added;
“You need the applications to drive the new economy,” “No one’s going to just go get a cryptocurrency wallet if there’s nothing to buy.”
Square Supports Artists
The Twitter CEO has supported the decentralized technologies as they enable people to store data and process transactions without relying on any central authority in between. The companies could develop related businesses such that consumers have more control over what they view online.
Martha Bennett, an analyst at the consulting firm Forrester, said “companies and artists already trying to sell music directly to fans through blockchain-based systems have had limited success.”
“When you think purely about breaking into the market, if somebody with the brand name of Jay-Z and Beyonce doesn’t manage to break the stranglehold of the well-established streaming platforms then who else can,” Bennett said.
Although, Square has not disclosed the percentage of its ownership via cash or stock deal. Tidal will operate independently and ownership is maintained by the existing artist and shareholders.