Kanye West is playing corporate matchmaker between Apple and Tidal in the least conventional way imaginable.
Last month, the Wall Street Journal broke the news that Apple was considering a buyout of Tidal, a music streaming service bought by Jay Z in March 2015 for $56 million, to boost its Apple Music business. Now Kanye West is pressing the Cupertino-based technology giant to go through with the acquisition, despite what he describes as a “beef” between the two firms.
In the first of a series of tweets, West wrote: “This Tidal Apple beef is fucking up the music game."
The rapper went on to demand meetings with high profile members of the industry like Apple CEO Tim Cook, Beats founder Jimmy Iovine and, of course, Jay Z, saying: “Fuck all this dick swinging contest. We all gone be dead in 100 years. Let the kids have the music.”
Somewhat confusingly, West also told Apple to “stop trying to act like you Steve”, a probable reference to the late Steve Jobs, the legendary co-founder and former CEO of Apple, who passed away after a battle with cancer in 2011. It’s likely an effort to put pressure on Tim Cook, who took up the position of CEO following Jobs’ death, and who has faced considerable scrutiny over his performance at the helm of Apple in the post-Jobs era.
His final tweet was about how he “forgot to add Daniel Ek”, although it’s not clear whether he wants a meeting with him, or that he has a beef with him. Ek is a Swedish entrepreneur best known for co-founding Spotify in 2006, although he was previously CEO of uTorrent, one of the world’s biggest Bittorrent clients.
Wall Street analyst Gene Munster, of Piper Jaffray, previously predicted that Apple would have to pay an impressive $500 million to purchase Tidal, a sum that’s nearly ten times what Jay Z paid for the service. At the start of 2016, Apple had over $200 billion in cash reserves, and the company has a current market capitalisation of £569 billion, so Tidal is hardly a huge expense for the company, especially as the acquisition would give Apple a significant leg up in the streaming market while removing a key competitor.
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