Kanye West claims that he turned down a chance to work with Apple, according to a profile in The New York Times’ T Magazine.
West, who has been a longtime fan of Apple and its late co-founder Steve Jobs, says he passed on “a multimillion-dollar partnership with Apple,” though he didn’t elaborate on what that partnership would have entailed. The comment came up during a creative meeting between West and his design team while they were visiting Adidas during New York Fashion Week, where West unveiled his new clothing line Yeezy Season 1.
While West is being tight-lipped on Apple’s proposed deal, The Verge points out that it seems unlikely that West would turn down any deal with Apple that would allow him to help design limited edition hardware, such as Apple’s partnership with Bono and U2 that led to the Product Red iPod.
West has been a vocal supporter of Steve Jobs and Apple’s design aesthetic, going so far as to say that “Samsung is not quite Apple,” according to AdWeek. As a Father’s Day gift, West’s wife, the selfie-obsessed reality TV star Kim Kardashian, gave him an Apple mouse signed by Steve Jobs.
The most likely possibility is that Apple approached West about an exclusive music deal to release a single or album exclusively on Apple’s Beats music streaming service. After all, Apple’s Jimmy Iovine, the co-founder of Beats, has reportedly already been trying to lure musicians and artists away from Jay Z’s new Tidal music streaming service, which West recently publically pledged himself to by signing a contract onstage.
And while West has praised Apple’s design and hardware in the past, he’s been critical of its approach to making deals with musicians, alleging last year that Apple didn’t pay musicians to perform at its iTunes festival, offering increased exposure on iTunes instead.
“I know you might have heard about this thing where I was on stage, like calling Tim Cook out and saying why do you have these guys performing at South by Southwest and you don’t want to pay them,” West said in a Bloomberg interview during the Cannes Lions festival. “You just want to give us extra space on the iTunes page and stuff, you know.”
So if West is telling the truth and he really did turn down a multimillion-dollar partnership with Apple, there’s a chance it had to do with licensing his music rather than a product or hardware design collaboration.
You can read T Magazine’s full profile on West here.
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