Kanye West inserted himself into the so-called "beef" between music streaming rivals Apple Music and Tidal over the weekend, calling for a meeting between stakeholders and for the bigger company to "stop trying to act like you Steve [Jobs]" and "give Jay his check." The seemingly unprovoked mini-tweetstorm from West arrived exactly a month after the Wall Street Journal reported that Apple was in talks to acquire Tidal, a transaction that would be financially beneficial for West and other Tidal investors, a notion that drew the ire of another artist, rapper-actor Kid Cudi.
"This is why the game is f—ked up," Cudi said in a trio of tweets on Sunday. "All this sh-t is wack. Bunch of rich guys on a power trip. This shit aint about music. Never has. The rich just wanna get richer. Spare me... The art is lost."
West also vividly alluded to a rich-guy "power trip" in his most-retweeted message on Saturday ("F—k all this dick swinging contest. We all gon be dead in 100 Years. Let the kids have the music") but what isn't clear is what brought on the rapper's comments. The Journal cited unnamed sources in its June 30 report that Apple and Tidal were in "ongoing" talks. By calling for a meeting between Apple’s Cook, Jimmy Iovine and Drake, and Tidal’s Jay Z, among others, West looks eager to get the ball rolling on some kind of merger/sale.
Tidal, which Jay Z re-launched last year with support from West, Rihanna and other A-listers, is reported to have roughly 4.2 million paid users, far less than Apple Music's 15 million and miles away from Spotify's 30 million.
The second and third-placers have been duking it out in the past year by using exclusives as a strategy to add to subscriber rolls. Apple has benefitted from its partnership with Drake, while Tidal has looked to its celebrity stakeholders (see: West's The Life of Pablo and Beyonce's Lemonade) to give the service dibs on new releases.