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Sprint agrees to buy 33% of Jay Z's Tidal music venture

[NEW YORK] Sprint Corp said it will buy 33 per cent of music-streaming service Tidal and offer exclusive content and access to subscribers as the fourth-largest US wireless carrier turns to media streaming to attract more customers.

Marcelo Claure, Sprint's chief executive officer, will join the Tidal board and musician Jay Z will continue to run the business, according to a statement Monday. Financial terms of the deal weren't disclosed. Sprint paid US$200 million for the stake, according to a report in MusicBusinessWorldwide.

Sprint's pact with Tidal comes after larger wireless rivals have added streaming services to the list of features offered to subscribers. AT&T Inc waives data charges to customers that subscribe to its online TV service - DirecTV Now. Verizon Communications Inc provides customers free streaming of NFL games and its go90 video service. T-Mobile US Inc lets users stream music and video from more than 100 partners without racking up big bills.

Tidal has struggled to add customers in a market dominated by Stockholm-based Spotify, Apple Inc and Pandora Media Inc. Tidal was in discussions with Apple about a sale last year, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal. The company also tried to attract interest in a deal from Samsung Electronics in early 2016, according to Variety.

Tidal said last year that it surpassed three million paying customers, but more recent user counts have come under question. Jay Z's holding company, S Carter Enterprises LLC, agreed to buy Tidal's maker, Aspiro AB, in January 2015 from Schibsted ASA, a Norwegian media company. Soon after making the US$56 million purchase, Tidal accused the previous owner of inflating the user numbers.


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