Jay-Z gets into the music streaming business.
For Shawn Cory Carter, a.k.a. Jay-Z, being the king of hip-hop isn’t enough. By acquiring Aspiro, the 45-year old rapper is poised to becoming the king of music streaming services. According to the New York Times, Jay-Z has acquired the Swedish company for $56 million, following the decision of Aspiro’s shareholders to accept the multi-million dollar offer this week. Jay-Z has acquired enough shares to control Aspiro and its two streaming services.
Aspiro, which publicly trades in Sweden, has two music streaming services: WiMP and Tidal. The company also has a news syndicated platform called RADR Music News, which curates premium music videos from major labels and independent artists. Although Aspiro’s streaming services are currently limited to a number of countries, it focuses on streaming high-fidelity music—a boon to audiophiles and music lovers.
Spotify is currently the king of music streaming services, boasting around 15 million paying subscribers. On the other hand, Aspiro ended 2014 with around 512,000 paying subscribers on WiMP—20,000 of whom are paying for its high-definition streaming service, Tidal, which costs £19.99 a month. Aspiro recently entered the U.S. market last year. Jay-Z’s investment firm, Project Panther Bidco, negotiated the deal.
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The music streaming market is thriving. By acquiring Aspiro, Jay-Z is going against Spotify, Deezer, Google, and Apple. Google has two streaming services: Google Play Music All Access and YouTube Key, a premium video service. Meanwhile, Apple bought Beats Music last year to boost its struggling iTunes service, not to mention that the technology giant also bought Beats’ headphone business. Beats founders, Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine, also joined Apple.