Sources split on alleged acquisition talks between Apple and Tidal

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Two newer claims differ on whether Apple is in talks about possibly acquiring Tidal, one of its rivals in the streaming music space.

The existence of talks, originally reported by the Wall Street Journal, has allegedly been confirmed by sources for Re/code. However Ben Sisario — a writer for the New York Times — cited "two highly placed sources" as saying that Apple will not buy Tidal.

The Journal noted that Apple was in "exploratory talks" that might not result in a deal. The company occasionally engages in such negotiations — one rumor suggested that Apple raised the idea of buying Time Warner in 2015, but never took things beyond a preliminary stage.

Since there are few if any major technical differences between Tidal and Apple Music, a takeover would mostly allow Apple to remove a competitor from the marketplace and fill in gaps in exclusives. While Apple Music regularly offers exclusives of its own, Tidal has been able to draw listeners with temporary or permanent exclusives from artists like Beyonce, Prince, Rihanna, and Kanye West.

Apple could theoretically absorb Tidal's 4 million subscribers into its current pool of 15 million people, but as with Beats Music the service presumably wouldn't shut down right away, and some customers might choose to jump ship for alternatives like Spotify.