Jay Z—rapper, sports agent, champagne connoisseur, business mogul, and human also known as Shawn Carter—is getting into the music streaming game. Mr. Carter has placed a $56 million bid on Aspiro, a Swedish company which owns two niche, high-end music services: WiMP and Tidal. Negotiations have apparently been ongoing since December, and Jay’s offer through his company, Project Panther, has received preliminary approval from Aspiro’s board. He isn’t the first rapper to get involved in music streaming—Dr. Dre got filthy rich off the sale of Beats, including Beats Music, to Apple last year—but the sale will further grow and diversify his entertainment and sports conglomerate, Roc Nation.
WiMP and Tidal are different from Spotify and other digital music services in that they both stream “lossless” audio formats, which are much higher in quality. Although still a relatively small and expensive corner of the market, these have picked up steam recently with players like Deezer and Sony offering high-resolution streaming products. As for why Jay wants in on this, a spokeswoman said, “Panther’s strategic ambition revolves around global expansion and up-scaling of Aspiro’s platform, technology and services.” Because trying to derive meaning from PR speak is pointless, we’ll just leave it to Jay Z’s quiet, hyphen-dropping business acumen to do the talking from here on out.