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The Spotify vs Apple Music war is heating up, and Nicki Minaj thinks she was caught in the crossfire

Published Aug 20th, 2018 8:59PM EDT
Spotify vs Apple Music Nicki Minaj streaming
Image: JUSTIN LANE/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

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Spotify didn’t waste time in responding to a hot take from Nicki Minaj over her new album Queen only debuting at number two on the Billboard 200 chart. In a series of tweets, Nicki had blasted Spotify for retaliating against her and not giving Queen what she thought was a big enough push after she participated in some special publicity for the record via Apple Music, which included a themed radio show on Apple’s Beats 1 radio.

Nicki claimed in a tweet that Spotify “took away my promotion they had promised for the 1st cpl days b/c of this. #Queen.” And then this, in another tweet from the star: “My label didn’t want to defend me for fear of Spotify trying to teach Ariana a ‘lesson’ too!”

Now here comes Spotify, with the streaming giant firing back a response to the rapper that details everything the company did to push her new album. Starting with a billboard in Times Square.

From the company’s statement: “Spotify supported Nicki Minaj with a Times Square billboard, a host of the largest playlists, New Music Friday and the new music release shelf. Her song Bed actually saw an increase based on the promotions put behind the campaign. The company continues to be big fans of Nicki.”

Exclusives and special debuts are of course key tools that rival streaming music services use to stand out from the competition. Nicki, looking at Queen’s early sales, suspected retaliation on the part of Spotify after she worked with Apple to produce Queen Radio, a special Beats 1 radio show on Aug. 8 to promote her album, which was released on Aug. 10.

Spotify may have been quick to try to put this to bed, because this isn’t the first time it’s been on the hot seat for allegedly retaliating over an artist making a special arrangement with Apple Music. As Digital Music News reports, Spotify back in 2016 was blasted by a number of executives saying the company was doing this, especially after a New York Times report saying the company was essentially burying two Frank Ocean albums.

As DMN notes, “this goes deeper than high-flying superstars like Frank Ocean, Beyonce, and Drake. According to Bloomberg sources, developing artists are also facing punishments for simply debuting music on Beats 1, the radio component to Apple Music. ‘The company has threatened to use its retaliatory practices on lesser-known artists who introduce music on a Beats One show hosted by DJ Zane Lowe, an architect of Apple’s radio service, the (Bloomberg) report continued.”

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.