Square acquires majority ownership stake in Jay-Z's Tidal music platform

Square CEO Jack Dorsey said the Tidal investment lines up with Square's original mission to help small sellers enter the economy and grow.

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Jack Dorsey, CEO of both Twitter and Square, is turning his friendship with rapper and music mogul Jay-Z into a series of business partnerships. On Thursday, Dorsey announced that Square would acquire a majority ownership stake in Tidal, the music streaming platform owned by Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter in a deal valued around $297 million. 

Carter is expected to join the Square board when the deal closes, while Tidal will operate independently within Square, alongside the Seller and Cash App ecosystems, the company said in a press release.

The pairing of a financial services company and a music streaming platform comes off as a bit random, but in a series of tweets, Dorsey said the Tidal investment lines up with Square's original mission to help small sellers enter the economy and grow. 

"Given what Square has been able to do for sellers of all sizes and individuals through Cash App, we believe we can now work for artists to see the same success for them, and us," Dorsey wrote on Twitter. "We're going to start small and focus on the most critical needs of artists and growing their fanbases. Square created ecosystems of tools for sellers & individuals, and we'll do the same for artists. We'll work on entirely new listening experiences to bring fans closer together, simple integrations for merch sales, modern collaboration tools, and new complementary revenue streams."

Last month, billionaire buddies Dorsey and Carter announced they were giving 500 bitcoin to a new endowment set up as a blind irrevocable trust focused on Africa and India. Bitcoin is already a growing focus within Square and its Cash App, and is clearly a focal point in these two partnerships. 

In its most recent earnings report, Square said its bitcoin-enabled Cash App generated $1.76 billion of bitcoin revenue and $41 million of bitcoin gross profit during the fourth quarter. The company has also purchased $170 million worth of bitcoin since October 2020. The investment represents about 5% of the company's total assets as of the end of 2020.