Square’s Tidal Acquisition might not actually be Dumb


You cannot walk into a Microsoft interview without reading Mindset by Carol Dweck. So got the audiobook and now halfway into it, I now understand how this one book has changed the fate of Microsoft.


When I first heard about it, Square’s acquisition of Tidal sounded dumb.

I thought maybe along with social media (Twitter) and a fintech company, Jack Dorsey just wanted to own a music streaming service.

And, $297M is just a change when compared to Square’s market valuation ($107B).

But then I re-visited Square’s website.

I read taglines like “The future of business is yours to shape”, “Start reaching more customers online” and “Get paid fast from anywhere”.

Something clicked.

Okay, first let’s back up.

Tidal might seem like just another music streaming service with Spotify-like UI.

But unlike other music streaming services, it has taken a more decentralized structure. It’s a service run by artists, for artists, and with the support of all artists.

In their own words – “TIDAL is an artist-owned global music-streaming and entertainment platform focused on the best sound quality to forge a deeper connection to the art. We bring fans closer to artists through unique content and exclusive experiences.”

Everyone from Jay Z and Beyonce to Kanye West and Nicki Minaj has a stake in Tidal. After reading the About page on the website, this acquisition made much more sense.

Basically, Square didn’t buy Tidal to offer some sort of bundled service.

Square views Tidal’s shareholders (artists) as businesses and it wants to help those businesses reach more customers online and get paid fast from anywhere (for their exclusive experiences and exclusive content).

Maybe Square might help Tidal in “creating a more sustainable and practical model for the music industry”.

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