Just as he has in his creative work, Jay Z has made every effort to stay ahead of the curve in business. The 45-year-old rapper-slash-business man purchased a Scandinavian must streaming company called Aspiro. The deal is worth a reported 464 million Swedish crowns ($56 million USD) and has been endorsed unilaterally by Aspiro’s board. Schibsted, the Norwegian company that holds the majority of Aspiro shares at the present time, also said that they had accepted the offer.
Aspiro is best known for maintaining a streaming service called WiMP, which is currently only available in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Poland and Germany. Localized editorial teams work to provide users with recommendations of songs, artists and playlists for specific moods or occasions, or based on a user’s previous listening history. WiMP provides in-interface links to purchase copies of songs; subscription fees allow the service to be free of ads. WiMP is currently available in the US and UK under the name Tidal. Aspiro claims to have a database of over 25 million songs.
Jay Z, who purchased the company through his Project Panther Bidco, Ltd, was last year estimated by Forbes to be worth some $520 million. He famously ushered a new wave of entrepreneurship among major-label rappers; where regional stalwarts like Master P built empires from the ground up, Jay parlayed his Def Jam distribution into clothing lines and sports bars, diversifying as furiously as he could. There has been speculation that this purchase could signal an alignment with Taylor Swift against streaming giant Spotify. At press time, there had been no indication that Hov’s extensive catalog would be pulled from any digital platform. Of today’s deal, Jay called Aspiro “an innovative high-quality company with strong future growth potential.”