By Anjali Athavaley
(Reuters) – U.S. wireless carrier Sprint Corp said on Monday it would buy 33 percent of Tidal, a music streaming service owned by rapper Jay Z, marking a move to more content driven services in a highly competitive wireless market.
Sprint paid $200 million for the stake, and Jay Z and each of the company’s two dozen artist-owners will remain part owners, according to a person familiar with the deal.
Sprint shares rose 3.4 percent to $9.23 in midday trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
The deal would make exclusive content from Tidal available to Sprint’s 45 million retail customers. Sprint Chief Executive Marcelo Claure will join Tidal’s board.
The partnership comes as wireless carriers try to capitalize on the popularity of music streaming services. In 2014, rival T-Mobile US said it would allow customers to listen to services like Spotify and Pandora without it counting toward their data use. Last year, it expanded the list, adding Amazon Music and ESPN Radio among others.
Tidal calls itself an “artist-owned” service backed by Kanye West, Jay Z’s wife Beyoncé and Madonna among others, and is available in more than 52 countries.
Jay Z bought Tidal for roughly $56 million in 2015. Apple Inc was in talks to buy Tidal to boost its Apple Music service, according to a Wall Street Journal report in June.
(Additional reporting by Aishwarya Venugopal in Bengaluru; Editing by Martina D’Couto and Andrew Hay)