Apple is reportedly considering an acquisition of Tidal, the Jay Z-owned music streaming service, according to The Wall Street Journal. The service launched in 2014, placing a focus on high-fidelity audio quality, but more recently has secured exclusive streaming rights on several high profile albums to better compete with much larger rivals like Spotify and Apple's own Apple Music service. Talks between the two sides are "ongoing" and a deal might not materialize, according to the report. Tidal executives flatly denied the rumor when questioned by the Journal.
Apple's interest in Tidal is tied to the service's unique relationship with some of today's top artists including Kanye West. Jay Z acquired Tidal last year, gave other performers a stake in the company in the process, and has since been trying to better position the service in a crowded market. Those steps have included the addition of ticket sales, live concert streams, and a focus on landing exclusive dibs on huge albums — even if just temporarily.
The rumor of an Apple / Tidal deal comes as tensions between Spotify (the leading subscription music service) and Apple continue to escalate. According to Recode, Spotify is claiming that Apple recently rejected an update to the company's iOS app because Spotify chose to remove the option for in-app subscriptions. Spotify blasted the move as anticompetitive, insisting that Apple is "causing grave harm" to both its business and customers. "We cannot stand by as Apple uses the App Store approval process as a weapon to harm competitors," Spotify said in a statement.