Jay Z has bought Norwegian streaming service Wimp after putting in a bid of 464 million kroner (about £47million) for its parent company Aspiro.
The rapper, who made the bid through his company Project Panther Bidco, will now be in direct competition with Spotify, Google Play All Access and YouTube Music Key, as well as with Dr Dre’s Beats Service – which was bought by Apple last year for $3 billion.
Wimp and its audiophile arm Tidal Hifi offers more than 25 million songs and 75,000 music videos to more than half a million subscribers in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany and Poland. In a statement, Jay Z’s company said of the sale: “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 upscaling of Aspiro’s platform, technology and services.”
Scandinavian media group Schibsted, which owns 75 per cent of the shares in Aspiro, added that there was potential for further growth of the company. “Aspiro needs substantial expansion capital and a strong and dedicated owner to be able to grow and compete on the global music streaming market,” the company’s executive vice president Trond Berger Schibsted said. “Panther, which is controlled by S. Carter Enterprises, LLC, has adequate financial resources and a high level of competence in the music industry. Hence, I think they will be a better owner to lift Aspiro and its advanced music streaming service to a new level.”
Last year proved to be a lucrative year for music streaming services. In December, Dr Dre was named as the world’s highest paid musician by Forbes magazine, largely due to the takeover of his Beat Electronics imprint by Apple earlier in the year, a deal that meant Dre earned $620m (£395m) in 2014 alone.