Jay-Z is buying the Scandinavian music streaming company Aspiro — which currently runs two music services — for $US56 million, in a bid to take on Spotify.
Aspiro currently runs an ad-free service called WiMP and the high-definition offering called Tidal. Both are aimed at keen music lovers, with track recommendations, curated playlists and interviews with artists. Perhaps most importantly, they also offer audio available to stream and download in the lossless FLAC format.
WiMP, which serves Denmark, Germany, Norway, Poland and Sweden, launched in 2010 and in 2014 had 580,000 paying users. Tidal launched in the US and UK last year, and provides access to 25 million tracks in 16-bit FLAC format for $US20 per month.
That's rather more than the likes of Spotify, but it is way better in sonic terms. Jay Z has made the purchase (fairly indirectly) via his company Project Panther Bidco. The offer was accepted by the Norwegian owner of Asporp, Schibsted, today. It remains to be seen what will be made of the purchase. [Reuters]