Jay Z has completed his acquisition of streaming services Tidal and WiMP, after the company’s shareholders approved his bid to buy Swedish company Aspiro, Billboard reports.
It looked like the acquisition had hit a snag when a group of minority shareholders who control 10% of Aspiro were preparing to reject the takeover bid. But the group had a change of heart and later decided to accept Jay Z’s bid.
There are still some legal steps to go through, though. The negotiation period ended at 4pm UK time on Wednesday, but Aspiro tells us that Jay Z’s company has until Monday to officially announce the acquisition.
News of Jay Z’s bid to buy Aspiro was first reported in January when his company, Project Panther Bidco, revealed its $US56 million offer for the Swedish tech company.
Here’s the statement that Jay Z’s company published along with its initial offer for Aspiro:
Panther believes that the recent developments in the entertainment industry, with the migration to music and media streaming, offers great potential for increased entertainment consumption and an opportunity for artists to further promote their music. Panther’s strategic ambition revolves around global expansion and up-scaling of Aspiro’s platform, technology and services.
Aspiro, parent company of streaming sites WiMP and Tidal, isn’t especially well-known outside of the audiophile community. There are two main things it does different to rival streaming sites like Spotify: It offers streaming of lossless, high-resolution music, as well as curated playlists.
Aspiro CEO Andy Chen told us in an interview that fans of high-resolution music were excited by the launch of WiMP and Tidal. “When the news came out that we were offering lossless hi-fi streaming, the news more or less travelled by itself in the audiophile world,” he said.
Apple has been working on a redesigned version of iTunes that sounds strikingly similar to what Tidal has been doing since launch. Sources tell Business Insider that former Radio 1 DJ Zane Lowe is heading up the company’s new streaming effort, and it’s going to see iTunes refocused around streaming, complete with curated sections for musicians and original content written by journalists.
We asked Chen whether he’s concerned by the news that Apple is building a potential Tidal killer:
My personal philosophy is that for anybody who has run a tech business, or is in a sector that’s highly competitive, I think what you do is, you will never end up building anything if you spend too much time just identifying the fears coming from the larger competitors. Apple is Apple. Apple is huge. Apple is going to do whatever Apple wants to do … We observe and look at what they want to do.
Streaming sites are big business in northern Europe. And that’s especially true for countries like Sweden. The latest data from the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) shows that streaming music sales make up 80% of recorded music income in Sweden.
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