Dr. Dre became the first billionaire of hip-hop thanks to Apple’s $3 billion acquisition of Beats Music and its accompanying over-priced headphone brand. Jay Z is pretty much the only big name rapper that hasn’t imitated Dre by slapped his name on headphones. Instead, he’s decided to do the next best thing and buy a high-def music startup.
Jay Z purchased the Scandinavian music streaming company Aspiro today, adding to his array of businesses that include clothing, sports bars, and a sports agency. The takeover cost Jay Z $56 million in an effort to take on the likes of Spotify, Beats Music, and the fiery music titan Neil Young.
Aspiro currently runs the ad-free music service WiMP, as well as Tidal’s high-definition streamer. The two services have similar features, giving music fans the ability curate playlist, find recommendations, and read artist interviews. WiMP is only available in Denmark, Germany, Norway, Poland, and Sweden. Tidal launched in the U.S. last year with over 25 million tracks in 16-bit FLAC format, priced at $20 per month.
Jay Z’s company, Project Panther Bidco, says it had been following the music startup for sometime, according to Reuters they believe “an innovative high-quality company with strong future growth potential”. Shares in Aspiro spiked 59 percent in early trading after the news broke that the Jigga Man is tooling and entering the music streaming war.
Jay Z hasn’t said how he plans to take on his West Coast rival with the new company, but if the 90’s taught me anything, it’s that this ends badly.