Hey Apple! If you haven't heard, it's time for you to just go ahead and buy Tidal. And that's not coming from us. You can do whatever you want. However, Kanye West strongly insists that you just purchase the music streaming service already, and we all know what happens if you don't do something Kanye wants you to do -- you might end up in one of his new music videos in a somewhat unflattering way. Or, worse, Kim West might Snapchat all your dirty laundry for everyone to see.
While we doubt Tim Cook is on track to become the next Taylor Swift, it's certainly plausible that Apple might end up acquiring Jay-Z's Tidal service. Though, we somehow doubt Apple will do it according to Kanye's timeline (or tweets):
This Tidal Apple beef is fucking up the music game.— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) July 30, 2016
I need Tim Cook Jay Z Dez Jimmy Larry me and Drake Scooter on the phone or in a room this week!!!— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) July 30, 2016
Fuck all this dick swinging contest. We all gon be dead in 100 Years. Let the kids have the music.— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) July 30, 2016
Apple give Jay his check for Tidal now and stop trying to act like you Steve.— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) July 30, 2016
On the plus side, Kanye's tweets confirm that Apple is wrapped up in some kind of negotiation with Tidal, so there's that. We don't know what kind of offers Apple has made, if any, and what the timeline for the negotiations actually is, but it stands to reason that Apple is probably playing hardball for Tidal simply because that's often what Apple does in these situations. And while acquiring Tidal would give Apple more access to exclusives -- and give Apple Music an advantage over its streaming competitors, depending on just how high-profile these exclusives would be -- Apple certainly doesn't need Tidal's technology, just its performers (and audience).
At this point, Apple Music has the upper hand in terms of an overall subscriber count. Recent figures put Tidal at just around three million subscribers worldwide, whereas Apple Music has around 13 million. However, Tidal's exclusives do a lot for the service: Beyoncé Knowles' Tidal-exclusive release of Lemonade in April brought in 1.2 million more trial and paid users. Apple's no stranger to exclusives itself, but having Beyoncé (and others) on your platform certainly doesn't hurt -- and could help Apple get even closer to the big audience of rival Spotify, around 30 million paid users or so.
That, and acquiring Tidal would allow Apple to start positioning Apple Music as an artist-friendly streaming service that pays more than rival streaming services, with plenty of big-name artists on board to back up its claims. That's certainly encouraging for future up-and-comers, and even established acts, to join up with Apple instead of other streaming services. And where the artists go, the fans follow.