In a reminder that feuds between rappers don’t have anything on the battles between rival music streaming services anymore, amateur beefer and Whataburger hero Drake may have become a pawn in the battle between Apple and its artist-owned rival, Tidal. Drake made a surprise appearance last night at Lil Wayne’s Lil Weezyana festival in New Orleans, appearing alongside the Tidal co-owner and performing a three-song set to help raise funds for victims of Hurricane Katrina. At least, that’s what’s being reported by live attendees, since anyone watching the concert’s broadcast on the streaming service was greeted only by a black screen for the duration of Drake’s performance.
It’s not 100 percent clear why online viewers were denied the sweet, life-giving Drake feed they so desperately need; Tidal placed the blame firmly on Apple, citing the iTunes owner’s exclusivity deal with the artist, and calling the company out as “Big Brother” on Twitter:
(If Meek Mills is looking for material for his next Drake diss, he might want to talk to Tidal’s Twitter team for help.)
Drake’s management, though, denies the claims, saying the decision came entirely from their side of the equation. Talking to Buzzfeed, Drake’s Adventure Time-y named manager, Future the Prince, told reporters that,
“The decision to not have Drake participate in the Tidal stream has nothing to do with Apple or Drake’s deal. … Point blank, 100%. I made a business decision. Apple doesn’t have the power to stop us from being part of a livestream. The only people that have the power to do that are Cash Money and Universal, and they’re our partners. … We wanted to make sure the stream represented us in the right way, and we didn’t have much insight into what they were doing. Aesthetics and quality are important to us and we didn’t have any control over that or time to investigate it. We were just there to participate in the benefit.”
Tidal, for its part, says that it has records of all the conversations leading up to the concert, but has decided not to publicly reveal them, so as to “keep it classy.”