Apple's appetite for acquiring music streaming services, and the agonies and ecstasies that come along with them, has apparently been satisfied. Squelching reports that have persisted since June, a member of Apple Music's senior leadership said the company has no current plans to acquire Jay Z's Tidal or any other rivals.
"We're really running our own race," Jimmy Iovine, who heads Apple Music, told BuzzFeed News in an interview. "We're not looking to acquire any streaming services."
The comment was in response to a question about a Wall Street Journal report from late June that Apple was "in talks" to acquire Tidal, which has fiercely competed with Apple Music for exclusive access to A-list artists. Until now, no one from Apple has commented publicly on the alleged talks. Iovine did not deny that such discussions had taken place, but said that no acquisition deal was currently in the works.
Following the June report, some suggested that picking up Tidal could help Apple shore up its bid for dominance in the streaming world, in which the two companies' mutual competitor Spotify has a head start.
Apple Music currently has around 17 million paid subscribers, compared with Spotify's 40 million, according to the companies' latest announced figures. In addition to being a boon to its subscriber base, acquiring Tidal, which has said it has around 4.2 million subscribers, would have potentially helped Apple's relationships with some of the biggest names in pop music. Beyoncé, Rihanna, Kanye West, and Madonna are among several high-wattage equity partners in Tidal who may have been incentivized to work with Apple on future releases. In late July, West urged Apple to move forward with a deal, saying that it should "give Jay his check."
For now at least, Apple says it will pass.
On its own, Apple Music has picked up 2 million subscribers over the past three months, and a revamped, more streamlined version of the service was launched on Tuesday as a part of the new iOS 10 release. Since Jay Z acquired Tidal's parent company Aspiro AB for $56 million in March of 2015, it has struggled to find its footing, churning through several senior executives — including two CEOs — in its first year. Earlier this week, it reported a net loss of $28 million for 2015, more than double its losses from the year before.
When reached by BuzzFeed News, a representative for Tidal did not have a comment.
Reggie Ugwu is a features writer for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
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