Technology

Sprint turns its stake in Jay Z’s Tidal into a free wireless promotion

Streaming music service Tidal is still run by its founding artists, including Jay Z and Beyoncé. But part owner Sprint has turned its one-third ownership stake into a promotion that could benefit both operations.
Streaming music service Tidal is still run by its founding artists, including Jay Z and Beyoncé. But part owner Sprint has turned its one-third ownership stake into a promotion that could benefit both operations. AP

Sprint is putting its investment in music streaming service Tidal to work by offering it free for six months to new and current wireless subscribers.

The Overland Park-based wireless company bought a 33 percent stake in Tidal in January with little indication of how it would hope to leverage the connection. Reports at the time suggested it might link a Tidal promotion to its planned, and still pending, relaunch of its Virgin Mobile brand.

Instead, Sprint said each currently active or newly activated Sprint line can receive six months of Tidal’s higher-cost HiFi service for six months. The service normally costs $19.99 a month.

The offer begins Friday and will be available online and at Sprint-owned store.

Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure had hinted at the offer in a Twitter post Wednesday.

“More than two-thirds of mobile subscribers stream music an average of 45 minutes per day, making our partnership with Tidal a natural fit for Sprint,” Claure said in the company’s announcement Thursday, which it also posted in Spanish. “We’re providing our customers and anyone who signs up for Sprint a complimentary six-month trial of Tidal HiFi so they can experience all the unique and exclusive content Tidal has to offer.”

Sprint said it will donate $2 to its 1 Million Project for each new subscription that includes a device purchase or lease. The project is an effort to bring internet connections to 1 million students who don’t have access at home that they need for school work.

Subscribers who receive the free Tidal HiFi service can continue it after six months by paying the normal cost. Customers also will be able to switch to the $9.99 a month Tidal Premium service or remove the service completely from their devices to avoid charges.

Sprint’s offer provides a pool of potential new customers for Tidal, which competes against larger music streaming services Spotify and Apple Music.

Tidal’s founding artists include Jay Z and his wife, Beyoncé, two of the recording industry’s wealthiest artists, along with Kanye West and Alicia Keys. Tidal has not updated its online ownership statement to include Sprint.

Reports have said Sprint paid $200 million for its stake in Tidal, though the company has not disclosed the amount.

Mark Davis: 816-234-4372, @mdkcstar

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