Rapper and business mogul Jay-Z has an old idea that he’d like to try out on the new music business.
Prior to the official announcement of his acquisition of the Swedish streaming music service Aspiro, the magnate held a giant pow-wow with some of the movers and shakers of the music business during Grammy week in February.
According to a post on Showbiz 411, guests at the meeting were literally a who’s who of music creators, including Madonna, Kanye West, Daft Punk, Nikki Minaj, Chris Martin of Coldplay, Jack White, Beyonce, two unnamed country music stars and about 20 other non-musicians ranging from attorneys to music execs.
The reported reason behind the meeting was to gather information about how Jay-Z could turn his upcoming streaming network into something along the lines of the old United Artists film studio, where the artists themselves had control of the business and reaped more of the rewards than in the current mostly-corporately owned system.
Jay-Z (real name Shawn Carter)‘s company Project Panther Bidco Ltd complete its purchase of Aspire on March 13th. The company owns the WiMP and TIDAL streaming networks, one of the few services to currently provide CD quality streaming. The network is small with only 512,000 paying subscribers with only about 20,000 of those subscribed to the high-def tier. Upon relaunch the network will be renamed TIDALHiFi.
The purchase seems like a good one from Jay-Z’s perspective. Paying only about $56 million for a service that already has infrastructure and subscribers seems like a steal compared with the estimated $300 million that Apple paid for the Beats Music service as part of last year’s $3 billion Beats acquisition. Still there’s plenty of challenges, with services like Pandora and Spotify already with a huge head start and deep pocket competitors like Apple (with its new service built around the Beats Music infrastructure) and Google (with its YouTube Music Key) set to relaunch later in the year. Read more on Forbes.
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