June 04, 2013
6:30pm PT by
Andrew Hampp, Billboard
Jay-Z and Samsung Rumored Close to Signing $20 Million Partnership Deal
While details are still scarce about Jay-Z and Samsung's rumored partnership, first reported by the New York Postthis morning and rumored to be worth $20 million, it appears that the deal may include a streaming music offering from Samsung. "You can speculate that he’ll want to develop some kind of new music-streaming service to promote his acts and music on mobile devices," a source familiar with the deal told the Post.
Representatives for Jay-Z did not return Billboard's requests for comment at publication time. Representatives for Samsung only went so far as to say that the company "does not comment on rumors or speculation."
Samsung has already been active in building up its music and entertainment offerings, and in March announced plans to double the staff of its Music Hub by end of year from 100 to 200, following its May 2012 acquisition of music service mSpot. The company has been particularly aggressive in integrating its own products and services into future iterations of its Galaxy devices, with April's debut of the Galaxy S 4 the most recent one. "We want music to be one of the deciding factors in purchasing another device in the future," TJ Kang, Samsung's senior vp of media solutions, told Billboard at MIDEM earlier this year.
Samsung has been highly competitive in the market over the past several years, and led mobile device market share by a wide margin in the first quarter of this year, beating Apple by 12 percent, according to Gartner.
The deal would be the latest in a series of creative director-type roles for Jay-Z, following his ongoing collaboration with Anheuser Busch on the Budweiser Made In America music festival (which his wife, Beyonce, will be headlining) and Duracell's PowerMat, where he is a stakeholder and spokesperson as part of a multi-year agreement. It would also be another feather in the cap for the multi-hyphenate performer, who in recent months was an executive producer of the film The Great Gatsby (and appeared on its soundtrack), announced a stadium tour with Justin Timberlake, investigated a renovation of Long Island's Nassau Coliseum (making it the second arena-sized venue he would have a stake in) and launched a sports management agency with Roc Nation Sports in early April.