Drake, Previously In Talks With Tidal, Endorses Apple Music at WWDC
It's official: Drake, who was on board to join Jay Z's Tidal until two days before the service's March 30 launch, loves Apple Music.
The 28-year-old Toronto rapper seemingly owned the artist presence at Apple's 2015 WWDC, appearing himself to plug the new service, as well as via fellow Toronto native The Weeknd, who closed the announcement by performing his new single "I Can't Feel My Face" (The Weeknd famously shot to fame in 2011 after Drake's co-sign put his mixtape House of Balloons on the map.)
Drizzy was on board to talk Apple Connect, a sort of revamped take on iTunes' social-media platform Ping (shuttered in 2012), which allows artists to centralize their posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other services into one place. Introduced by Eddy Cue, Apple's senior vp of internet software and services, Drake joked that he purchased his latest threads ("a vintage Apple employee's jacket") by using "a tool known in the rap world as 'The Internet.'"
Adopting a more serious tone, Drake spoke about how technology like Apple's helped him rise to worldwide recognition from relative Canadian obscurity in just five years' time. "As a kid growing up, I always wondered if my city or even my country would have somebody break into the global scene as a true superstar," Drake said. "The dream of being an artist like myself and connecting directly with an audience has never been more close and reachable than right now."
He then encouraged other developing artists to use Apple Connect as they develop their next body of work, much in the same way he plans to as he puts the finishing touches on his anticipated next proper album Views From The 6 later this year. "I'm really excited about what I'm working on," Drake said. (Of course, Apple was a big part of February's surprise If You're Reading This It's Too Late release, which sold 535,000 album-equivalent copies in its first week, 495,000 of which were from digital downloads.)
Ostensibly, Drake and Apple reaching out to the next generation implicitly and explicitly (Tim Cook later played a few seconds of a song from unsigned, unknown artist Loren Kramer) was the rising-tide-lifts-all-boats message that many critics felt never came from Tidal's superstar launch on March 30, which featured 16 A-list artists. (Vania Schlogel, Tidal's chief investment officer, said of the backlash at MIDEM this weekend: "It was unfairly said about us that we didn’t care about indie artists. For a lot of our artists that commentary hurt, and shortly after launch we came out with Tidal Rising which is all about those kinds of artists.”)
Drake is expected to contribute guest-curated playlists for Apple Music's streaming radio service after it launches on June 30, though reports have falsely suggested he'll receive as much as $19 million to be an artist ambassador. The rapper concluded his WWDC remarks by saying, "As an artist I can say for all those kids at home it is truly amazing to be part of something I can believe in, this is something that simplifies everything for the modern musician lke myself and the modern music consumer ike you. I hope you enjoy Apple Music and Connect. My name is Drake, and thank you for your time."