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Sprint acquires 33 percent of music-streaming service Tidal

As part of its acquisition deal, Sprint mobile customers will gain access to exclusive content, while Sprint provides a marketing fund for artists and its CEO gets a seat at the Tidal board.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

Sprint has announced acquiring one third of Tidal, with the music-streaming service to deliver "exclusive content" in an attempt to win Sprint new mobile customers.

Under the deal, which closed for an undisclosed amount, Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure will join Tidal's board of directors. The owner of Tidal, rapper Jay-Z, will continue running the streaming service alongside its other artist-owners, however.

Tidal, accessible in over 52 countries with more than 42.5 million songs and 140,000 music videos, will now be available for Sprint's 45 million post-paid and prepaid customers.

Also part of the acquisition, the mobile carrier will establish a marketing fund for artists to create and share music and videos.

"Sprint shares our view of revolutionising the creative industry to allow artists to connect directly with their fans and reach their fullest, shared potential," Jay-Z said in a statement on Monday.

"Marcelo [Claure] understood our goal right away, and together we are excited to bring Sprint's 45 million customers an unmatched entertainment experience."

"The passion and dedication that these artist-owners bring to fans will enable Sprint to offer new and existing customers access to exclusive content and entertainment experiences in a way no other service can," Claure added.

The companies said they will continue providing exclusive offers and promotions in partnership, with more to be announced "soon".

Under its Unlimited Freedom plans announced at the end of last year, Sprint offers unlimited data, talk, and text, as well as "optimised streaming video, gaming, and music" for $60 a month.

The news of Sprint's part-acquisition of the music-streaming company follows rumours last year that Apple was in talks with Jay-Z to acquire Tidal.

In Australia, Sprint's counterparts have been offering music-streaming services thanks to partnerships for years: Telstra with Apple Music; Optus with Spotify, Google Play Music, Pandora, iHeartRadio, and Guvera; Vodafone Australia with Spotify; and Virgin Mobile with Guvera.

Sprint is also securing new users through its 1Million Project, which provides a free smartphone, tablet, laptop, or hotspot along with 3GB of data each month for underprivileged high school students in order to help them keep up with homework that required internet connectivity.

"Education is the foundation for our society to prosper, and the internet is an incredibly powerful tool for learning," Claure said in October.

"But it's a huge problem in America that we have 5 million households with children that lack internet connections. Those kids have a huge disadvantage and we are failing them. All of us at Sprint are committed to changing this by providing 1 million students in need with free devices and free wireless connections."

Sprint said it will have the program completed by the second half of 2017 after piloting it beforehand.

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