Music-industry sources say Apple is interfering with Jay Z’s music-streaming service Tidal in an attempt to crush it ahead of the relaunch of Apple’s Beats Music, set for June.
Last week it emerged that Tidal, following its March 30 launch, has fallen out of the iPhone top 700 apps. But positioning in the app charts is driven by downloads, and according to our source, Apple “deliberately took a long time to approve Tidal iOS app updates. Tidal had a new app on Android on April 15, but still hasn’t received approval for Apple’s iOS app store.”
Robert Kondrk, vice president of iTunes Content, has also declared war on artists who sign up with Tidal. A source told us, “Robert told execs at Universal Music Group that Rihanna and other Tidal artists’ music would not be promoted as featured artists on iTunes if they put exclusive music out on Tidal.”
The source added that after Rihanna’s song “American Oxygen” debuted on Tidal, there were technical problems with her music on iTunes. The source explained, “Rihanna’s songs were scrambled and were out of commission for periods of time.”
A spokesman for Apple said, “That’s not true,” on the claim Rihanna’s songs were deliberately scrambled, but declined to comment on the other claims.
Meanwhile, another source confirmed Kondrk’s threat that Tidal artists would not promoted on iTunes: “That is normal operating procedure. If an artist chooses to market content exclusively with another rival retailer, no company is going to market or push content from that artist that hard.” Tidal reps did not respond to requests for comment.
Although there were multiple Sony artists at the Tidal launch, including Beyoncé, Sony Music will not grant Tidal a license to stream from Sony artists. Sony Music bossDoug Morris is now asking for $35 million in advance and $20 million in one year. A rep for Sony Music declined to comment.