Rapper and entertainment mogul Jay-Z reintroduced his streaming music service Tidal to the world Monday, which has the support of top-level artists from Beyonce to Daft Punk. The idea behind the platform, according to executives, is to tip the music business’ scales in favor of artists, who will have a stake in the company.
But Tidal isn’t an entirely new product: It was originally run by Swedish company Asprio, which Jay-Z quietly bought earlier this year for $56 million. Jay-Z has since revealed to Billboard why he made the big-money move:
What made Aspiro the company to help you make this statement? Was it anything to do with the fact that it’s a smaller, foreign company that you could buy more quietly?
That had a bit to do with it. We had to move pretty quietly because we wanted to do it right without interference. But … the service [also] offers high-quality audio and video. Again, we’re talking about respecting the music and respecting the art … and we can’t play around with that, so we need something that’s authentic and honest. That made it pretty attractive pretty quickly, that the sound quality was so high, and I would know, because I’ve personally heard 70 mixes of a single record, you know what I’m saying? So the least I can do is try to present that to the public the way that the artist intended.
Tidal will be up against competition from companies like Spotify and Apple, the latter of which recently purchased the Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine co-founded Beats Music. Apple is said to be rejiggering Beats’ streaming service into a revamped offering of its own with a heavy emphasis on exclusive releases.