Quick Hits: Analyzing Sprint/Tidal; a look at Tencent; Hulu’s musical VR

Brief news items and worthy reads from around the web:

Why is Sprint throwing money at Tidal?: Many are asking, and The Verge attempts an answer. Even so, the article summarizes with a baffled question: “For now, the benefits are unclear.” Noting that the Tidal/Sprint deal includes $75-million in “dedicated marketing,” it’s possible that Sprint will commission exclusive music releases that it can offer its phone customers. In most of the music/telecom deals we’ve seen over the past few years, the strategic thrust is to retain cell phone customers, more than to make money on music. Sprint has cut past deals with Napster and Spotify

Profile on China’s Tencent: Music Business Worldwide ran a feature about China’s music industry, which is dominated by the Tencent conglomerate. Given how well entrenched Tencent’s many music properties are with Chinese listeners, companies making inroads from the outside may not fair so well. MBW argues that even services like Spotify and Apple Music, which have generally done well on the international stage, may be stymied in China.

Hulu’s VR music reality show: Video streaming site Hulu is exploring the virtual reality space, and the latest offering is a musical reality show. On Stage started streaming on the Hulu VR app yesterday, with the first episode centered on rapper Lil Wayne. YouTube has also been investigating the VR space, and the cross-over between music and video is likely to get very creative as people test the limits of the new technology.

Brad Hill