Samsung mulling Tidal buy, another turn in a less-than-stellar content strategy

Samsung mulling Tidal buy, another turn in a less-than-stellar content strategy

Samsung is said to be talking to Tidal once again in regards to a possible acquisition, the New York Post reports.

The company had first met with the service’s owner Jay-Z back in October 2015, however, nothing had come of the talks.

Tidal had a good start to 2016, thanks to the Rihanna and Kanye West exclusives, however, is still said to be struggling to reach the scale it requires to take on the likes of Spotify and Apple Music. Unless it can raise a considerable amount of cash soon, Tidal’s easiest way out is via an acquisition. 

Samsung, on the other hand, appears to continue its search for the magic beans that will enable the company’s content strategy to flourish. So far, Samsung’s Milk Music has failed to make much of an impact and it is unclear how the company’s partnership with Deezer in Europe is faring. 

Can Tidal prove to be a solution? The service doesn’t have a free component, and whilst today it enjoys the relentless support of those artists who have received an equity stake, it is unclear whether the same artists would be as keen to provide the service with exclusives after an acquisition that would have seen them pocket a considerable amount of cash. Arguably, what makes Tidal valuable today could also be what turns it into a lame duck tomorrow.

The lack of a free component is a real issue since Samsung would either have to eat some of the costs to provide the service for free for "x" number of months, encouraging adoption (like Apple Music), or it would have to work with carriers to create a bundle of some kind. However, most carriers have already chosen their streaming platform of choice. 

Hardware manufacturers (Apple being an exception) are being left behind in the content battle. Whilst this may be a good thing for consumers - fewer walled gardens, portable services - it is becoming a lot harder for electronics brands to foster loyalty from their customers as Android users can happily move from one mobile phone brand to another without feeling too much of an impact. 


(Andrea Leonelli)