Musician Jay Z claimed on Twitter on Sunday night that “big companies” are “spending millions” on a “smear campaign” against his newly acquired music streaming company Tidal.
Tidal has been facing a series of negative articles recently, focusing on its fall down the App Store chart. It was ranked within the top 20 free apps in the US App Store, but has since plummeted to outside the top 100.
Now, Tidal is trying to regain some of the positive publicity that it experienced following its star-studded press conference in New York.
On Sunday night, Jay Z sent a series of “stream of consciousness” tweets with the hashtag “#TidalFacts” that were presumably designed to clear up reports of his music site’s early demise. “Tidal is doing just fine,” he announced, before saying that the service has over 770,000 paying subscribers.
But one claim that Jay Z made in his series of tweets sounded particularly outlandish. He suggested that rival services were behind a “smear campaign” against Tidal.
After the tweets were sent, Tidal’s PR representatives directed reporters to a report recently published on Page Six. That article claims that Apple is playing dirty in its war against Tidal, even going so far as to sabotage music on iTunes.
Page Six cites an anonymous source as saying that Rihanna experienced problems with her music on iTunes after she debuted an exclusive track on Tidal. The source said that “Rihanna’s songs were scrambled and were out of commission for periods of time.” But Apple said that the suggestion it had intentionally sabotaged Rihanna’s music was “not true.”
Another claim made in the Page Six article is that Apple has deliberately delayed updates to Tidal’s iOS app. The last time that the Tidal app was updated was March 30, and a Page Six source claims that the delay in updating the app is due to Apple intentionally taking a long time to review the updated app. That’s a more believable claim than Apple sabotaging Rihanna’s music — we know that Apple recently rejected an app that mentioned Pebble, a rival to its newly launched Apple Watch. But Apple later claimed that the app was rejected from the App Store because it violated App Store rules.
Apple did not comment to Business Insider over suggestions that it was behind a smear campaign against Tidal. However, Spotify, the other big rival to Tidal, did provide a comment from a spokesperson about Jay Z’s suggestion. It said that it was “very saddening” that anyone could believe Spotify is behind a smear campaign, going on to say that it was “absolutely not true. Not our style at all.”
Apple is preparing to launch its own streaming service, which will be a direct rival to both Tidal and Spotify. A recent update to its Music app introduced functionality that could be used in the future for a streaming app.
The redesigned music app places iTunes Radio in a far more prominent position. It’s not a new service, but its move suggests that Apple is preparing to make music streaming a big part of iTunes.
The developer build of the music app is likely going to be updated in the future to integrate with Apple’s relaunched streaming service. There’s a chance that it could be announced at Apple’s WWDC developer conference in early June.
Sources with knowledge of Apple’s streaming plans told us that the company is reaching out to well-known musicians to try to convince them to give its streaming service exclusive content, playlists, and timed exclusives.
The person reportedly heading up the plan to bring artists on board with Apple’s streaming service is former BBC Radio 1 DJ Zane Lowe, who was poached by Apple in February. One source told Business Insider that Lowe is the “mastermind” behind the project.