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Jay Z’s Bid for Aspiro’s Lossless Music Streaming Service Might Not Go Ahead After All

March 5, 2015 - Written By Tom Dawson

 

We’ve written about Tidal before, the Lossless music streaming service that offers a different (and arguably better) way to listen to music online and a few weeks ago things looked set to get very interesting, as Jay Z was poised to purchase the service for $56 Million. We covered the news a little while ago, and while it wasn’t Jay Z himself putting in the bid for company, but rather “Project Panther Bidco Ltd”, itself owned by S. Carter Enterprises. Either way, it looks like the $56 Million bid for the new service has been pretty much blocked by minority shareholders.

Yesterday, news broke out that a minority group of shareholders in Aspiro AB (Tidal’s parent company) have decided to block the bid, with Sune Karlsson, chairman of Aktiespararna equity association telling Swedish Dagens Industri that “We will recommend our members say no to the offer. We have accumulated more than 10 percent of the owners, which is enough to block it.” Their concerns are with the amount that Aspiro is being valued by Panther and how much money would be pumped into the business to expand it after a buyout goes through. These are decent concerns to have of course, but Fredrik Bj¸rland chairman of Aspiro’s Independent Board Committee has told The Next Web that “the recommendation to not accept the offer involves high risk, as it is well known that Aspiro is currently unprofitable and in need of capital within 12 months, and the current majority shareholder has indicated it is not willing to support this capital need. We thus believe accepting a 60% bid premium is a far better risk/reward recommendation.”

Personally, I’m a big fan of the service, and I featured it in one of our Android Audio Weekly segments, and to see a bid like this blocked worries me. Objectively, the brand cachet that Jay Z could bring to the lossless service could be invaluable. After all, lossless formats – those which aren’t compressed like MP3s and AACs – are considered to be the the reserve of audiophiles and those that like to boast about “superior sound” rather than the music itself. Perhaps Jay Z would be able to make the service more appealing to the average listener? A cash infusion could also help Tidal lower their monthly asking price, which is a sizeable pill to swallow in the face of Spotify and Google Play Music.