Outside of his rap career and marriage to Earth’s mightiest woman, Jay Z has a number of side ventures to keep him occupied. That includes a sports agency, the 40/40 night club chain, his role as a film producer, controlling interest in Ace of Spades champagne, and more. Now, Jay is setting his sights on the burgeoning industry of streaming music, as he’s in final negotiations to purchase the Scandinavian platform Aspiro.
According to Engadget reports, Project Panther, one of several subsidiaries owned by Jay Z, recently made an offer of 464 krona (that’s $56 million US) for 59.1% controlling interest in Aspiro’s two services: WiMP, which has limited availability in continental Europe, and Tidal, which offers service in the US, Canada, and UK. Aspiro’s board of directors has already reviewed the offer and is recommending that shareholders accept the deal. All the details could be finalized as early as mid-March.
Update – March 11th: According to Billboard, Jay Z’s bid has been accepted. Shareholders of Aspiro had expressed concerns over Jay Z’s plans for international expansion as well as his valuation, but ultimately agreed to move with the deal prior to the March 11th deadline.
So the question begs, why go all the way to Sweden to get into the streaming game? The short answer: Tidal/WiMP could be the answer to competing with streaming giant Spotify. Between its launch in 2010 and last fall, WiMP attracted over 580,000 paying customers, and with Jay Z attached, the newly-launched Tidal could do even bigger business.
Executives within Project Panther called Aspiro an “innovative high-quality company with strong future growth potential,” and they’re no doubt hoping to get in on the ground floor a la Dr. Dre and Beats. According to insiders, Dre’s original goal was to capitalize on Beats’ streaming music service, not just the headphones market, and Jay could be looking to expand upon that celebrity-endorsed model and subsequent financial wellspring.
WiMP’s service involves an ad-free experience and the ability to download in lossless FLAC. Meanwhile, Tidal is a bit of a luxury purchase: Though it offers the same features as its sister service, the $20 per month price tag is double that of competitors like Rdio, Spotify, and Deezer. It doesn’t have the accessibility of a Spotify, but that high-end angle could be something Jay and co. utilize to their benefit.
Let’s just say that Blue Ivy is going to have the biggest college fund in the history of Western civilization.
Below, watch a user review of Tidal.