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Music

Kanye West weighs in on streaming-music wars: ‘Let the kids have the music’

Kanye West
Kanye West is shown at the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards.
(Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)

Listen up, everyone: Kanye West has something to say (and it’s not about Taylor Swift).

Taking a break from his and his wife Kim Kardashian’s continuing campaign against the country-turned-pop star, the outspoken rapper let loose Saturday with a series of tweets regarding a different battle: the competition between two of the highest-profile platforms in the increasingly crowded streaming-music space.

“This Tidal Apple beef,” he wrote, referring to Tidal, the streaming service owned by Jay Z, and Apple Music, is messing “up the game.” (West used harsher language.) Then he added, “We all gon be dead in 100 Years. Let the kids have the music.”

A bit of backstory: Tidal and Apple Music — which along with Spotify and other services are vying for subscribers as listeners shift from downloading to streaming — have reportedly been in talks to merge, a move that would end the two companies’ fight for exclusive content (and therefore widen access to songs and albums by artists currently aligned with one service or the other).

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This year Tidal has premiered work by West and Rihanna, among others; Apple Music has had exclusives by stars including Drake and Katy Perry.

On Saturday, though, West seemed to suggest that those talks were at a stand-still.

“Apple give Jay his check for Tidal now and stop trying to act like you Steve,” he wrote, apparently referring to the late Apple chief Steve Jobs.

But don’t fear — West is determined to smooth the gears of digital commerce.

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Proposing an epic summit of music-industry heavyweights, the rapper tweeted, “I need Tim Cook Jay Z Dez Jimmy Larry me and Drake Scooter on the phone or in a room this week!!!”

Let the negotiations begin.

Twitter: @mikaelwood

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