Apple is currently in discussions with Jay Z-owned Tidal to purchase the music streaming service, according to sources familiar with the matter.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple is interested in acquiring Tidal to provide a boost to its own music streaming service, Apple Music, as Tidal has strong ties to big names in the entertainment industry such as Madonna and Kanye West, who launched the controversial "Famous" music video exclusively on the platform.
The terms of a potential deal between the two companies have not yet been revealed, with sources saying that while talks are ongoing, there is no guarantee that a deal could be reached.
A spokesperson for Tidal, however, refuted the report by claiming that there have been no talks between the two companies.
The music streaming service was acquired by Jay Z in March 2015 for the amount of $56 million. He has since given out small stakes in Tidal to a total of 19 artists and bands such as Daft Punk, Nicki Minaj and Usher, along with the promise of marketing worth millions of dollars for each of them.
Tidal subscribers pay $20 per month for a high-quality version of the service, or $10 per month for a standard-quality version. According to Tidal, it has 4.2 million paying subscribers who have access to its catalog of 40 million tracks, and who have enjoyed the service's exclusive release from artists such as Rihanna and Beyoncé, the wife of Jay Z.
Tidal also exclusively holds the rights to the catalog of the late Prince, who did not agree to other music streaming services, but signed up with Tidal because of the close relationship that he shared with Jay Z.
Purchasing Tidal would provide Apple Music with more firepower as it competes in the cutthroat music streaming industry against rivals such as Spotify and Google Play. Tidal could also choose to make its exit by being acquired by Apple, as despite its recent success, it is still very much behind the major names in the industry.
How Apple would use Tidal if the acquisition pushes through, however, could not be predicted. While Apple could choose to dissolve Tidal and integrate its assets into Apple Music, it could also give the service a more prominent role, though its artist-first stance could lead to certain issues with Apple Music's business model.
The news of a potential acquisition comes as Apple finds itself in a dispute with Spotify. The music streaming service claims that Apple has rejected a new version of Spotify's app for the iOS from being uploaded to the App Store as it is looking to give Apple Music an advantage in the competition.