The rap legend turned music entrepreneur stopped by the electronics giant’s Silicon Valley offices Wednesday for a hush-hush visit, suggesting that Samsung may be looking to strike a partnership with, or possibly even acquire Tidal.
Especially interesting in this context is the location of the visit: Photos and videos posted to social media show Jay-Z leaving the office of Samsung Research America, which also houses Samsung MSCA, the unit responsible for Samsung’s content strategy, including its Milk Music service. Variety has since learned that one of his meetings there was with Daren Tsui, Samsung’s SVP of content and services, and the driving force behind Milk Music.
A Samsung spokesperson declined to comment. Tidal didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Samsung launched Milk Music as a free Pandora competitor in early 2014. The company followed with a Milk Video service focusing on short-form content in late 2014, and had plans to release other Milk-themed services for additional audiences. However, Samsung’s media efforts have been struggling lately. Earlier this year, it laid off some of the staff behind Milk Music and Milk Video and lost a key executive. Samsung recently announced that it was shuttering Milk Video next month.
Tidal meanwhile has had its own set of challenges. The company has gone through multiple CEOs over the past few months, and is under additional pressure after Apple unveiled its music subscription service this summer.
Teaming up with Samsung could make sense for Jay-Z: The handset maker could offer Tidal a huge distribution base by pre-loading its app onto its handsets. Samsung on the other hand could potentially profit from Jay-Z’s name recognition, and offer customers a more full-fledged on demand music experience than Milk Music currently does.
Of course, it’s also possible that Jay-Z just stopped by to chat — but the fact that one of his meetings involved the Milk Music boss suggests that there may be more in the works.