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Sorry, Tidal: Kanye West’s new album may be an Apple Music exclusive

Published May 22nd, 2015 8:30AM EDT
Kanye West Apple Music

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An intriguing rumor from the music industry publication HITS Daily Double claims that the release date for Kanye West’s upcoming album, titled Swish, might be timed to coincide in some way with the upcoming launch of Apple Music. If this is indeed the case, it stands to reason that Kanye’s new album may very well be an Apple Music exclusive at launch.

“Kanye West is making changes, distancing himself from Tidal, firing Roc Nation and managing himself, with an unofficial assist from the Jenner-Kardashian clan,” the report claims. “As for Kanye’s long-delayed album, there’s some chatter that the release will be connected to Apple Music’s launch.”

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Now that’s certainly some interesting chatter.

As far as rumors go, this one is a bit out there, but not entirely unbelievable. Though Kanye helped promote the launch of his pal Jay Z’s Tidal music service this past March, he curiously deleted all of his tweets mentioning the service just a few weeks ago.

While that by itself isn’t a whole lot to go on, there have been a number of reports over the past few weeks indicating that Apple is working extremely hard behind the scenes to secure major exclusives ahead of its Apple Music launch, set to be unveiled at WWDC on June 6.

Especially with Apple being unable to secure a lower price point for Apple Music, artist exclusives have taken on even greater importance within the company, a number of sources have said. According to Bloomberg, for instance, Apple has already asked  more than a dozen artists about exclusivity deals, including Florence and the Machine and Taylor Swift.

What’s more, recall this excerpt from a New York Times article a few weeks ago:

Mr. Iovine has set the tone of the transformation of Apple’s music plans, according to music executives. Mr. Iovine, who reports to Eddy Cue, Apple’s head of software and Internet services, has been leading aggressive talks to secure prominent album releases that will be exclusive to Apple, akin to what Beyoncé did when she released her self-titled album on iTunes in December 2013.

As far as exclusives go, getting an exclusive album launch from someone like Kanye West, whether you love him or hate him, would be an absolute coup for Apple. Besides, if Apple was able to secure a Beyonce exclusive for iTunes, there’s no reason Apple couldn’t come up with an enticing deal (read: money + promotion) to get Kanye on board with Apple Music.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.