Apple is reportedly in preliminary talks to buy Tidal from Jay Z, reports the Wall Street Journal.
The move is seen as a direct play on behalf of Apple to gain an edge in the music streaming market, especially as Spotify represents an ever growing and more dominant competitor. The Journal cited people familiar with the negotiations, and noted that all discussions are currently at a preliminary stage.
Music industry analyst Bob Lefsetz told USA Today that the deal makes sense. "Jay Z bought [Tidal] to sell it and who's going to buy it? Amazon is the only other option and it's going in a different direction." Lesfetz added that there's "huge motivation for Apple to buy it...it's at war with Spotify."
To add context to Lesfetz's claims: Spotify recently accused Apple of blocking a new version of its iPhone app, claiming that Apple Music wanted to nullify its main competitor, according to Re/code. Spotify General Counsel Horacio Gutierrez called the incident a "troubling pattern of behavior by Apple to exclude and diminish the competitiveness of Spotify on iOS and as a rival to Apple Music."
Apple Music launched last year, but its empire has been growing since 2014, when the company purchased Dr. Dre's Beats Music for $3 billion. Per USA Today, we learn that Apple Music has 15 million paid subscribers, while Spotify maintains 30 million. Apple announced a major redesign of its streaming service at this month's Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco.