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Business conflicts between Apple Music and Tidal are have been blocking some potentially popular projects from happening, rapper Kanye West claimed in surprise comments during a Seattle concert on Wednesday.
Before performing the Drake song "Pop Style," West took time out to explain why the original version of the song — with guest verses by him and Watch the Throne collaborator Jay-Z — somehow didn't end up Drake's Views album, according to The Fader.
"Y'all didn't get, what y'all were supposed to get with me and Drake on this song because of some Tidal/Apple b______t," West said. Both West and Jay-Z are co-owners of Tidal, while Drake has developed extremely close ties with Apple. The video for "Hotline Bling" was funded by Apple, for instance, and Views was a temporary Apple exclusive when it launched in April.
While West blamed other factors as well for the "Pop Style" debacle, he also suggested that the Apple/Tidal conflict may be preventing a second Watch the Throne album.
Earlier this year rumors hinted that Apple might consider buying Tidal. West in fact openly invited takeover talks, apparently frustrated with exclusivity deals. In September, though, Apple executive Jimmy Iovine quashed the idea that the company would buy Tidal or any other competing streaming service.
Both Apple and Tidal have relied heavily on exclusives — sometimes to the detriment of customers, who may find they can't listen to a song or album by a favorite artist. Even label Universal Music has turned against the idea, instituting a ban on exclusives for its artists after rapper Frank Ocean exploited the system in dealings with Apple.