Editor’s note: This article originally attributed Aspiro to Norway – it has now been fixed to Sweden
Sweden’s Aspiro, owner of music streaming services WiMP and Tidal have gotten a unique exit under their belt after being acquired by Jay Z’s company, Project Panther Bidco, for SEK 464 million (€49.6 million).
The rise of Spotify has crowded out much hype coming out of WiMP, the music streaming service launched in 2010 that has only expanded to Denmark, Germany, Norway, Poland, and Sweden. But recently through a new streaming service, Tidal, the company has ridden the hype of lossless streaming for those more picky about bitrate, and has expanded more aggressively geographically.
Compared to $9.99/month priced Spotify and WiMP, Tidal is audio aficionado priced at $20 a month, and currently offers 25 million tracks and 75,000 high quality music videos. While that’s a huge back catalogue while researching the company it seems like Tidal can be slower than Spotify at offering new releases, a good focus of the service is on professional curation. Currently Tidal offers a seven day free trial, which I’m waiting for a free weekend to dig into it and see if Tidal can make my cheap headphones sing.
This is clearly going to be an massive year for music streaming. The way the rumor mill is churning Spotify looks like it’s going to push back their hypothetical IPO until later this year after news surfaced that the company is shopping for a $500 million round. Meanwhile Apple is rumored to re-launch Beats music streaming service later this year, which should make Spotify wonder if they’re doing everything they could be.
As a consumer I’m excited about this acquisition. Spotify has the first mover advantage but has outsourced all their innovation into dead app store. Taking a look at the market Dr Dre’s Beats will bring something new to the table (hopefully more than just deep U2-style Apple integration). Assuming Jay Z bought Aspiro to throw some star power and creativity at it, hopefully this will kick off a good East Coast vs. West Coast era of creativity in music streaming.