Jay Z Enters High-Quality Music Streaming Industry

The rapper, through his Sean Carter Enterprises, makes $56 million offer for music services WiMP and Tidal

Jay-Z performs onstage at Central Park in New York City on September 27th, 2014. Credit: Kevin Mazur/Getty

After tackling the world of music, nightclubs, basketball team ownership and athlete representation, Jay Z has now set his sights on entering the gauntlet of high-quality streaming music. The New York Times reports that Jay Z has put in a $56 million offer for Aspiro, a Swedish company that controls high-quality streaming services Wimp and Tidal. The bid already receiving preliminary approval from the Aspiro board.

A spokesperson for Shawn Carter Enterprises (SCE) confirmed that Project Panther Bidco, a company owned by SCE, was pursuing a possible acquisition of the Swedish music service. "Aspiro is a media technology company in the forefront of the ongoing redefinition of music consumption," the SCE spokesperson tells Rolling Stone. "Through the subscription services WiMP and TIDAL, Aspiro offers a complete experience of higher HiFi quality. The platform encompasses audio, video and integrated editorial features.

"Panther believes that the recent developments in the entertainment industry, with the migration to media streaming, offers great potential for increased entertainment consumption and an opportunity for artists to further promote their music," the statement continued. "Panther's strategic ambition revolves around global expansion and up-scaling of Aspiro’s platform, technology and services."

The SCE spokesperson concludes that the Aspiro acquisition is still subject to shareholder approval and therefore "there is no guaranty that a transaction will take place." The New York Times reports that Wimp had 512,000 paying users according to its last quarterly report. The number of Tidal users was not revealed but subscribers pay a monthly fee of $20 for the service, double that of Spotify's Premium rate.

Like Pono, Neil Young's upstart digital music player, both Wimp and Tidal offer lossless files, making for more high-quality sound than that of the usual streaming services. With streaming continuing to dominate a music industry hit by record low sales, Jay Z is firmly positioning himself in this burgeoning business should the Aspiro acquisition be completed.