Those who were watching Lil Wayne's Hurricane Katrina benefit concert last night via Tidal's exclusive live stream may have noticed something peculiar when the New Orleans native brought Drake onto the stage.
At precisely the point that Champagne Papi's performance started, the stream cut to black and Tidal posted the following message: "Apple is interfering with artistry and will not allow this artist to stream. Sorry for Big Brother's inconvenience. We will be back after performance."
Since the incident, rumor has been that Apple — which just signed a $19 million exclusivity deal with Drake — threatened Jay Z's competing (if you could call it that) service with a $20 million lawsuit over Drizzy's participation in Lil WeezyAna Fest. The music giant is flatly denying the claims, and Drake's manager Future the Prince says it was him, and not Apple, that literally pulled the plug on the live stream plan.
“The decision to not have Drake participate in the Tidal steam has nothing to do with Apple or Drake’s deal,” He told BuzzFeed News. “Point blank, 100%. I made a business decision. Apple doesn’t have the power to stop us from being part of a live stream. The only people that have the power to do that are Cash Money and Universal, and they’re our partners.”
The business decision, Future explains, had to do with quality control and not contracts. “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,” he said. “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.”
As for why Tidal is putting the blame on Apple, even Future is scratching his head over that one. “I don’t understand,” he continued. “If you’re going to say something about the situation publicly, you should tell the truth. They saw the opportunity to take a situation and spin it in their favor as a publicity stunt.”
Tidal, meanwhile, is standing its ground. "We have all the email receipts and written correspondence that took place with said, blocked performance," a statement from the company reads. "That being said we choose to keep it classy. Great show to all the performers. Great performance Wayne. God Bless New Orleans. 10 years stronger."
The alleged "email receipts" have not yet been made public by Tidal.
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(Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Coachella)