When Apple Music launches next month, Kanye West’s new album could be streaming on the service exclusively. The rapper’s highly anticipated seventh LP Swish “could be connected to Apple Music’s launch,” said a report on music biz blog Hits Daily Double. The report, explaining the switch in streaming music loyalty, said that West is “distancing himself from Tidal, firing Roc Nation and managing himself, with an unofficial asset from the Jenner-Kardashian clan.”
It’s just a rumor, at present, but it’s definitely not entirely unsubstantiated. While the rapper supported his friend Jay Z’s premium music streaming service Tidal in March, he has since deleted all of his tweets mentioning the platform. And Kanye certainly has love for Apple: as Cult of Mac reports, he’s compared himself to Steve Jobs, spoken about his love for Apple design exec Jony Ive, and has been spotted wearing the gold Apple Watch.
Apple has made it known that the company is looking for big name exclusives for the new Beats-based music service. A recent Bloomberg report shed light on Apple’s push for exclusive content deals, including limited streaming rights for a new Florence and the Machine track from the band’s upcoming June release.
Notably, West told The New York Times earlier this year that he passed on “a multimillion dollar partnership with Apple. While we don’t know for sure if this was related to an exclusive streaming deal, it’s certainly a strong possibility. And Apple has show willingness to fight (and win) battles, as shown by the company’s rumored tiff with Tidal, including accusations that the Apple Store ‘deliberately’ delayed Tidal iOS app updates. In addition, Apple has been investigated by the Justice Department for pressuring labels to kill Spotify’s free music tier, in order to clear the way for its paid subscription-only service.
If Apple can land Kanye’s new release, it would be a huge win for the service as it aims to compete in an already saturated music streaming marketplace. As Apple Music will have no free tier, listeners would have to subscribe to the service — instead of a rival service like Spotify — in order to listen.
We’ll have to wait to find out if there’s truth to the rumor, though not for long, as Apple Music is expected to debut at the company’s annual WWDC convention on June 8. We wouldn’t be too surprised if Kanye shows up to the event.