Tidal may have landed some high-profile exclusives, like the streaming rights to Beyoncé’s Lemonade and Prince’s entire back catalog, but that doesn’t mean Apple has any interest in buying Jay-Z’s streaming service.
“We’re not looking to acquire any streaming services,” Apple Music leader Jimmy Iovine told BuzzFeed, shooting down a rumor from earlier this summer that Apple was having early talks with Tidal execs to explore the possibility.
At the time, unnamed Apple sources told the New York Times that an acquisition wasn’t gonna happen, and Iovine reiterated on Thursday: Nope. Of course, that doesn’t mean that Apple never talked to Tidal, but Apple is “running [its] own race,” Iovine said.
That could be bad news for Tidal, which is losing money like it’s going out of style. Jay-Z’s streaming service lost $28 million in 2015, more than double its $10.4 million loss in 2014. The company is pulling in some money, up from $36.2 million in 2014 to $47 million last year, but it’s not enough to stem the losses.
And gaining big names like Jay, Bey, and their entourage, which includes Tidal artist-owners like Madonna, Rihanna, and Kanye West, would certainly be beneficial for Apple Music. Apple’s service now has 17 million paying listeners, but Spotify still dominates with 40 million subscribers. Tidal has just 4 million users, but every million counts.
Tidal could fold on its own if its financial situation remains precarious, and Apple wouldn’t have to spend a dime acquihiring its team—after all, it probably doesn’t want Tidal’s app, which is harder to navigate and more frustrating to use than Apple Music ever was.