Rapper and producer Jay Z controls a business empire, but so far his success is not extending to the music-streaming service that he bought into last year, Tidal.
Since Jay Z bought in with a group of investors last year, losses are mounting. Aspiro, the Swedish-based holding company that controls Tidal, is burning through cash amid intense competition in the genre, The Wall Street Journal reports. Aspiro had a loss of $28 million last year, almost triple the loss recorded in 2014.
Although Jay Z, who certainly knows the music business, bought into Tidal, it has endured continued competition from a variety of music-steaming sources, from Spotify and Apple to YouTube. For the moment, Tidal is the dark spot among his many businesses in the U.S.
A Tidal spokesman had no comment on Aspiro's issues.
It wasn't supposed to turn out like this.
Jay Z announced in February of 2015 that his Carter Enterprises had bid $56 million for Aspiro. He celebrated the acquisition with a launch party in New York that was stocked with A-list celebrities, starting with wife Beyonce and including Kanye West, Alicia Keys, Madonna, Chris Martin, Nicki Minaj and Daft Punk. At the time, Aspiro appeared to be on a roll, boasting that it was available in 31 countries, including the U.S., with CD-quality sound.
But things didn't stay great for long. Jay Z filed suit against Aspiro in March seeking what Swedish media said was about $15 million. At the time, the issue was the number of subscribers. "It became clear after taking control of Tidal and conducting our own audit that the total number of subscribers was actually well below the 540,000 reported to us by the previous owners."
He said he couldn't comment further but that "we’re proud of our success and remain focused on delivering the best experience for artists and fans."
Jay Z remains one of the world's most successful rappers-turned-entrepreneurs, with a wide variety of entertainment-related businesses.