We’d heard rumors that Apple was considering a purchase of Tidal, and at least one person is adamant about making that idea a reality. On Saturday, Kanye West posted a series of tweets pushing for an end to “beef” between the two music services. He called for several visible people at both platforms, including Tim Cook and Jay-Z, to be “on the phone or in a room this week.” West even turned philosophical – “We all gon be dead in 100 years” – and then pointed – “Apple give Jay his check for Tidal now and stop trying to act like you Steve.” As a final throwaway, West also tweeted “I forgot to add Daniel Ek.”
Apple give Jay his check for Tidal now and stop trying to act like you Steve.
— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) July 30, 2016
There’s lots to unpack in those five tweets. First, while West may indeed be privy to some behind-the-scenes details about any negotiations between Apple and Tidal, this isn’t necessarily confirmation that the deal is happening. If they’re in talks, there could be several sticking points beyond just a petty beef. The two parties have distinct rosters of exclusive content, which poses a possible snarl of legal complexities, and Tidal’s artist-ownership model could also make a purchase agreement convoluted.
Second, why the inclusion of Spotify CEO Daniel Ek? Maybe this monologue is less about a specific deal and more about general dissatisfaction with the two top dogs in streaming. Or perhaps Spotify is also interested in making an offer for Tidal.
Finally, it’s a reminder about how social media can frame business narratives. Kanye West has 24.7 million followers who will probably read those tweets and whose take on the proceedings will potentially be shaped by his words. Public perception of Tidal since the start of Jay-Z’s ownership has largely been shaped by celebrity involvement, and that saga shows no sign of stopping.