Jay Z's streaming service Tidal and telecommunications company Sprint announced a new partnership on Monday that will provide 45 million Sprint users with access to Tidal and exclusive content from the platform. In addition, Sprint acquired a 33 percent stake in Tidal, and the company's CEO, Marcelo Claure, will sit on Tidal's Board of Directors. Billboard reports that the company paid approximately $200 million for their share in Tidal.
The two organizations said little about the nature of this exclusive content. Last year, Kanye West's The Life of Pablo and Beyoncé's Lemonade both appeared initially as Tidal exclusives; the platform also streamed a number of live events. As part of the new deal, Sprint plans to establish a "marketing fund" for Tidal artists that seems geared towards generating exclusive content. A rep for Tidal did not immediately clarify a request for comment for specifics, but the fund will allow artists "the flexibility to create and share their work with and for their fans." Billboard reports that this fund will be around $75 million annually.
In a statement, Claure praised Jay Z and the streaming service he oversees. "Jay saw not only a business need, but a cultural one, and put his heart and grit into building Tidal into a world-class music streaming platform that is unrivaled in quality and content," Claure said. "The passion and dedication that these artist-owners bring to fans will enable Sprint to offer new and existing customers access to exclusive content and entertainment experiences in a way no other service can."
"Sprint shares our view of revolutionizing the creative industry to allow artists to connect directly with their fans and reach their fullest, shared potential," Jay Z said in a statement. "Marcelo understood our goal right away and together we are excited to bring Sprint's 45 million customers an unmatched entertainment experience."