By Colin Kellaher 

Square Inc. is buying a majority stake in Tidal, a music and entertainment platform owned by rapper Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter and other artists, for $297 million in cash and stock.

The San Francisco payments company said Thursday that Mr. Carter will join its board as part of the deal, and Tidal's current shareholders will remain co-owners.

Square -- best known for its signature white card reader -- has created a financial ecosystem for retailers, small-business owners and shoppers. It offers loans through its seller platform, and its Cash App payment service allows consumers to digitally store and transfer their money like they would at a bank.

It is looking to do much the same thing for musicians on the Tidal platform by, for example, integrating merchandise sales and hosting collaboration tools, Square Chief Executive Jack Dorsey said in a tweet Thursday morning.

"New ideas are found at the intersections, and we believe there's a compelling one between music and the economy," Mr. Dorsey tweeted. "Making the economy work for artists is similar to what Square has done for sellers."

Tidal was always about more than streaming music, Mr. Carter said in a statement. "Artists deserve better tools to assist them in their creative journey," he said.

Square already has ties with the music business. The company has recruited hip-hop artists, one of Cash App's most devoted fan bases, to help bring aboard new users during the pandemic. To promote Cash App and their single, "WAP," rappers Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion gave away $1 million to fans who messaged them on Twitter with their Cash App usernames, called "cashtags."

Square said Tidal will operate independently within Square, alongside its seller and Cash App platforms. It expects to complete the transaction in the second quarter.

Colin Kellaher contributed to this article.

Write to Colin Kellaher at


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

March 04, 2021 11:07 ET (16:07 GMT)

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