NEW YORK – Streaming service Tidal revealed an original movie starring recent Oscar winners Thursday as telecom giant and part-owner Sprint announced a new campaign to woo customers to the underdog music platform.
Cryptic advertisements appeared Wednesday online and in New York’s Times Square saying only “4:44”, fueling internet rumors – with little evidence other than the evident Tidal connection – that rap mogul Jay Z was set to drop a new album.
It turned out the banners in fact were for a film exclusive to Tidal featuring Mahershala Ali and Lupita Nyong’o, who won Oscars respectively for “Moonlight” and “12 Years a Slave,” as well as “Lethal Weapon” actor Danny Glover.
A black-and-white trailer for the film showed Ali as a boxer, flinching in the light, as a soulful electronic score plays.
Tidal revealed little else about the movie other than to say it was NC-17 – the strictest US film rating which means it is not suitable for children.
The trailer was revealed as Sprint, which earlier this year bought a one-third stake in Tidal, announced a new bid to lure customers.
Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure tweeted that Sprint customers would have access for six months to Tidal, with more details to be revealed Friday.
Jay Z bought Tidal in 2014 from Aspiro, a Norwegian company that is listed in Sweden, and has tried to brand it as music lovers’ choice through exclusives from artists, original video content and high-quality audio.
But even with the rapid growth worldwide in streaming, Tidal – whose benchmark subscription is twice as expensive as most competitors’ at $19.99 (RM 85) a month – remains a sliver of the market dominated by Sweden’s Spotify.
Sprint’s purchase of the stake for an estimated $200m (RM 853m) surprised many industry watchers, some of whom had doubted Tidal’s long-term health.
But the purchase was seen as part of a wider bid by Sprint, which is owned by Japan’s Softbank Group Corp, to increase its market share in the United States.