Jay Z hosted the music industry's biggest stars at a glittering business meeting to lament 'crass commercialization' and plot their own rival to Spotify, it is claimed.
Madonna, Kanye West, Nicki Minaj, Daft Punk, Chris Martin of Coldplay, Jack White, Rihanna, an unnamed prominent country singer, and Jay Z's wife Beyoncé all gathered in February to share their thoughts, Showbiz 411 reported.
And today the rapper, whose real name is Shawn Carter, confirmed his $54 million purchase of Swedish streaming network Aspiro, parent company of music platform WiMP.
The program, which he plans to rename TidalHifi, will uniquely allow artists to profit from their material and directly upload quality tracks.
Daft Punk's two members were key figures in deciding on a strategy during the meeting days before the Grammy Awards at The Fig House event space in a remote part of Pasadena, Los Angeles, a source told Showbiz 411.
They apparently suggested artists should be involved in curating and editing that material on the network.
On Friday, a spokesman for Project Panther Bidco, a company controlled by the 45-year-old rapper, said all the conditions for completing the acquisition of Aspiro had now been fulfilled.
Owners representing more than 90 percent of shares in the Swedish-listed firm accepted the $54 million offer on Wednesday, the spokesman said.
The deal will pit Jay-Z against Spotify, and also Dr Dre after his streaming service, Beats Music, was bought by Apple.
In January, shares in Aspiro, which runs music streaming service WiMP, leaped 59 per cent in early trading to the bid level of 1.05 crowns per share.
'I think they will be a better owner to lift Aspiro and its advanced music streaming service to a new level,' said Trond Berger, the financial director of Norwegian media group Shibsted, currently Aspiro's majority owner.
At the end of the third quarter of 2014, Wimp said it had 512,000 paying users in Germany, Poland and the Nordic countries.
That is a far cry from its Nordic rival Spotify, a pioneer in the streaming music business.
The unlisted company boasted 15 million paying subscribers in mid-January and is available in 58 countries.
Norwegian business daily Dagens Naeringsliv reported in January that Jay Z's company was particularly interested in Wimp's high-fidelity Tidal streaming service which is being launched on the US market.
'The Wimp/Tidal service has the potential for greatness, given that it has high-end audio capabilities,' music specialist Simon Dyson at corporate analytics firm Ovum told AFP in an email, adding that the $56-million price tag was 'not excessive'.
It would need substantial investments to challenge Spotify or US tech giant Apple's widely expected entry into the market later this year after acquiring Beats Music from another rap star, Dr Dre, in 2014.
Jay-Z is one of the world's best-selling music artists of all time, having sold more than 100 million records. Forbes estimated last year that his net worth was $520 million.
His mix of music and entrepeneurial interests mirrors that of other rappers, including De Dre, who sold his Beats headphones business to Apple, and 50 Cent, who sold his vitamin water business to Coca-Cola.
Project Panther said it had followed the development of Aspiro for some time, believing it to be 'an innovative high-quality company with strong future growth potential'.
Norwegian media house Schibsted, Aspiro's main shareholder, said it had accepted the offer, while Aspiro's board said it was united in recommending the bid, virtually ensuring its success.
Schibsted owns around 75 percent of Streaming Media AS, which in turn owns about 76 percent of Aspiro.
Source: Daily Mail
Date Posted: Saturday, March 14th, 2015 , Total Page Views: 6172
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