Jay Z’s new streaming service Tidal launched with much aplomb in March this year. More than a dozen celebrities, from Madonna to Kanye West, turned up to sign a contract promising to “forever change the course of music history.” But according to Billboard, not everyone planned for the launch actually showed up.
Drake had been intended as one of the original 16 artist “partners” of Tidal, the music news outlet reports — but pulled out at the last minute, “as late as two days before its March 30 launch event in New York.”
Instead, Drake has reportedly turned to one of Jay Z and Tidal’s biggest rivals — Apple. The Cupertino company is expected to launch a new music streaming service at its WWDC conference next week, to take on the likes of Spotify, Pandora, and Tidal. One of its big draws is its use of celebrities to curate playlists, produce exclusive content, and generally be a “presence” on the platform. Earlier this year, Apple hired star BBC DJ Zane Lowe to help spearhead these efforts and recruit artists.
There were earlier rumours that Apple was offering Drake as much as $US19 million to feature on its new service, but this figure has been denied by a source Billboard talked to. “Apple doesn’t normally pay artists for those types of collaborations,” they said.
Nonetheless, Drake — along with Pharrell Williams — has now apparently been recruited for the platform. According to a recent Wall Street Journal report, it will cost around $US10 per month once it launches.
As the music streaming space gets more and more crowded, debate is becoming increasingly heated about how consumers should access music online. Several musicians have slammed the approach Tidal is taking. Singer Lily Allen claims it will encourage piracy, and Marcus Mumford (of Mumford & Sons) is also critical.
But established industry leader Spotify has also come under fire, with Taylor Swift pulling her music from the platform in a highly-public move in late 2014, claiming its free, ad-supported listening option fails to value art properly.
Jay Z has shot back against other steaming services with a special song, rapping that “you know when I work I ain’t your slave right… you know I came in this game independent right, Tidal, my own label same difference… Spotify is nine million, they ain’t say sh-t.”
We’ve reached out to Tidal for comment and will update when they respond.