Jay-Z plans to expand his empire into the music streaming business by purchasing the publicly-held Swedish tech company Aspiro. TechCrunch reports that Project Panther, a subsidiary company owned by S. Carter Enterprises, has offered $56 million to buy the dual-platform streaming service. The Norwegian media company Schibsted, which currently holds the majority share of the company, accepted the offer. In accordance with this, members of Aspiro’s board seem eager to close the deal, “unanimously” recommending that all minor shareholders accept the offer as well.
Aspiro administers the ad-free WiMP and Tidal, two streaming services dedicated towards curating high-definition, lossless media by way of track recommendations, playlists, and interviews with musicians and other popular figures in the music industry. The mission of Aspiro coincides with the current trend in digital media of providing more “committed audiophiles” in convenient and inexpensive ways, as seen in the explosion of apps like Spotify and Rdio a few years back. Project Panther claims to have been keeping a close eye on Aspiro, viewing it as “an innovative high-quality company with strong future growth potential.”
WiMP currently maintains an estimated following of 580,000 paying users and is presently available in Denmark, Germany, Norway, Poland, and Sweden. On the other hand, Tidal has been more directed towards Western audiences, launching only in the United States and the U.K. last September. Both WiMP and Tidal are available across all mobile devices, including Android, iOS, and Windows.
Tidal charges $19.99 a month and grants users access to a noteworthy catalogue of 25 million tracks and an upwards of 75,000 music videos, all of which are available to stream and download in the uncompressed 16-bit FLAC format. The price point comes in a little higher than competitor apps like Spotify and Rdio, both of whom charge a $9.99 a month premium fee.
In purchasing Aspiro, Jay-Z is following in the entrepreneurial footsteps of other musicians like Dr. Dre and Neil Young who have also switched gears and pursued growth in music distribution. Just a few months ago, Dr. Dre struck a deal with Apple and sold his Beats Music service for $3 billion. Jay-Z is currently estimated to be worth somewhere around $520 million. Acquiring the streaming service Aspiro will only add to Jay-Z’s already expansive Roc Nation empire, which already seeks revenue in entertainment and sports.