Watch out, Dr. Dre — you're not the only hip-hop mogul with a music-streaming service to your name. Rapper/entrepreneur Shawn "Jay-Z' Carter is purchasing Swedish music company Aspiro for $56 million, which will give him ownership of two streaming services that could be used to take on Beats Music and Spotify.
Aspiro currently operates two music streaming services: WiMP and Tidal. Both services are built around delivering high-fidelity lossless audio (music that doesn't sound compressed) and helping fans discover new tunes via curated playlists. WiMP is focused on audio and offers professional packages for businesses such as gyms and retail shops, while Tidal is built for personal use and also features high-definition music videos.
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With Aspiro's duo of music services under his belt, Jay-Z could potentially strike a chord with mobile audiophiles. Spotify and Beats Audio both offer a 320Kbps high-quality audio option, but there's no lossless option for fans with an especially keen ear. While it might not be a game-changer for music apps, Spotify and Beats also lack the built-in music video support that Tidal offers.
Tidal's extra features do come at a cost, as its $20 monthly fee is double what Spotify and Beats charge. The app is currently available on iOS, Android and desktop computers and works with select premium speakers, such as Sonos.
Jay-Z's impending purchase of Aspiro follows the footsteps of hip-hop producer and Beats Electronics founder Dr. Dre, whose Beats Music streaming app launched early last year before the Beats brand was purchased by Apple over the summer. Like Tidal, Beats Music is built heavily around music curation, with custom playlists available from top music publications and producers.
It remains to be seen whether Jay-Z will look to bolster Tidal or rebrand it as something new. Either way, the streaming music game has gained yet another highly influential player.