Can musicians "save" a broken music industry? More than on successful artist turned entrepreneur certainly intend to try. Following in the footsteps of Dr. Dre (co-founder of Beats) and Neil Young (founder of hi-def music service Pono), Jay Z is set to become the latest musician-mogul to own a digital music service thanks to his $56 million bid to acquire Aspiro, the Scandinavian company that owns streaming music service WiMP and its hi-def audio cousin Tidal.
Jay Z's bid was first made in December by Project Panther, an offshoot of the his S. Carter Enterprises. Aspiro’s board of directors has unanimously recommended that shareholders approve the purchase. In a statement issued this morning, the company said:
" With reference to Project Panther Bidco Ltd’s public takeover offer for all the shares in Aspiro AB (publ)(STO:ASP), the Independent Bid Committee within Aspiro’s board of directors has decided, as further set out below, to unanimously recommend all shareholders of Aspiro to accept the offer."
The statement went on praise Jay Z (aka Sean Carter) as the best man to to move the company forward:
"The Independent Bid Committee is of the opinion that Panther, indirectly owned by SCE and controlled by Shawn Carter, possesses the proprietary relationships, industry knowledge, as well as economic strength and the necessary commitment in order to realise Aspiro’s strategic plan of expanding the Company’s business and brand globally.”
WiMP is already a competitor of Spotify's in Scandinavia and elsewhere in Europe. The company launched its hi-def offshoot Tidal in the US, UK and Canada late last year. As of late October 2014, WiMP had 512,000 paying subscribers globally including 20,000 who pay $20 per moth for hi-def Tidal.
With Apple soon to relaunch Beats, Spotify;s new deal with Sony and reported addition $500 million to its pre-IPO war chest plus Google, Amazon and others promising expansion, Jay Z has his work cut out for him.