Apple Music threatened to sue Tidal for US$20 million if it went ahead with its exclusive streaming of Drake’s charity concert.
Retaliating to this, Tidal stopped the streaming of the Drake performance with the scathing message, ‘Apple is interfering with artistry and will not allow this artist to stream. Sorry for Big Brother’s inconvenience’.
Drake had appeared for a two-song performance at a charity show, Lil WeezyAna festival in New Orleans, which Jay Z’s video streaming service Tidal was streaming it live for its subscribers. The charity show benefited the Carter Fund, a foundation that supports after-school projects in Lousiana. However, Apple Music was not happy with the arrangement as the Canadian rapper had signed an exclusive deal with them worth US$19 million.
Backed with ample legal support, Apple threatened to sue Tidal for up to US$20 million if Drake’s music was streamed live. Legal letters were apparently sent from Apple Music to Tidal, warning of consequences if the streaming of Drake’s performance either in a group or solo is continued, according to Page Six.
Page Six also reported that Drake, whose agreement with Lil Wayne’s Young Money Records was still on, was keen on performing at the charity gig along with the Hot Boys, Lil Wayne’s 1990s group and Nicki Minaj. Caught on a back foot maneuver, Tidal decided to hit back at the tech giant by putting the blame squarely on them with that rather scorching message in place of Drake’s two-song performance.
However, Future the Prince, Drake’s manager challenged the story by flatly denying that Apple threatened to sue. He was quoted in buzzfeed, ‘the decision to not have Drake participate in the Tidal stream has nothing to do with Apple or Drake’s deal: Point blank, 100%. I made a business decision’. Future the Prince accused Apple of turning the situation in their favor simply by using this as a publicity stunt and that the tech giant had no control over whether Drake’s performance can be or cannot be streamed online by Tidal.
In a short speech when he appeared during the unveiling of the Apple Music in June, Drake had said, ‘This is something that simplifies everything for the modern musician like me and the modern consumer like you’. These kinds of legal fights are expected to be more frequent as many music companies such as Tidal, Apple Music and Spotify among others battle to get exclusive deals from celebrity artists.