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Kanye West says Apple should 'cut a check' for Tidal

Controversial rapper takes to Twitter to suggest a meeting between the two sides

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 31 July, 2016, 1:49am
UPDATED : Monday, 01 August, 2016, 12:40pm

Apple should make a formal offer to buy streaming competitor Tidal, and Tidal should just take the check.

Thus says Kanye West.

On Saturday, the famously irascible rapper sent out a series of colorful tweets declaring the rivalry between the tech giant and the upstart music platform founded by Sean "Jay-Z" Carter was "[expletive] up the music game."

Last month, sources told The Wall Street Journal that Apple was exploring a bid for Tidal, which has struggled to gain critical mass despite its star power and Carter's high profile backing.

West appeared to suggest on Twitter that Carter should accept the bid, invoking the name of deceased Apple CEO Steve Jobs, and then suggested a summit between both camps to expedite the talks.

"We'll all gon [sic] be dead in 100 years," West said to his nearly 25 million Twitter subscribers. "Let the kids have the music."

West's comments may reflect some frustration with Tidal's business model. Tidal has tried to bolster its audience by offering them exclusive content they can't stream, or otherwise enjoy for free, on other platforms. That includes Jay-Z's catalog, as well as that of his megastar wife, Beyonce.

Earlier this year, West's highly anticipated "The Life of Pablo" album was initially publicsed as being available exclusively on Tidal—but in fact ended up in broad release on Spotify and other platforms. The head-fake became the basis of a class-action lawsuit filed in April that claimed West and Tidal had misled subscribers.

The Journal reported in June that an acquisition of Tidal, alongside Jay Z's portfolio of popular musicians and friends, would beef up Apple Music, sources told the Journal. Still, the talks may not result in a deal, and the terms of the deal are unknown, the Journal said.

At the time, Tidal denied that Tidal executives had held talks with Apple, according to the Journal. Apple declined to commen on the report.

Tidal has more than 4 million premium subscribers, but has been dogged by executive turnover and unfavorable comparisons to competitors like Spotify and Apple Music, both of which have far more subscribers.

— CNBC's Anita Balakrishnan contributed to this report.