Rapper and entrepreneur Shawn Carter, better known by his stage name Jay-Z, has taken to Twitter over rumors that Apple is trying to thwart the success of his newly launched music streaming service with the second coming of the Apple-owned Beats Music.

Jay-Z says Tidal, which he launched on iOS on March 30 and on Android on April 15, is managing respectably for an app that is less than one month old. He shot down critics who say the app has tanked, stating that Tidal currently has more than 770,000 downloads and pointing out other music distribution services that weren't successful right off the bat.

Jay-Z also addressed criticism that Tidal is pandering to already wealthy artists, explaining that the service is meant for musicians and fans, and does away with unnecessary record companies. Mainstream artists receive 75 percent of all royalties earned through Tidal, while independent musicians get 100 percent, he says. Tidal is valued at $60 million in equity, in contrast to the $8 billion of Spotify, $390 billion of YouTube and $760 billion of Apple.

Jay-Z's rare tweet storm was prompted by a report from the New York Post's Page Six citing anonymous sources who claim Apple is playing big bully over the fledgling music streaming service, as the world's wealthiest company prepares for the relaunch of Beats Music, the rival streaming app that Apple purchased for $3 billion last year.

The report came just after Tidal fell out of the top 700 iOS apps. Page Six's sources claim Apple deliberately delayed an update for the Tidal iOS app, a delay that prevented more people from downloading the app. The sources also say that Apple has declared war over musicians who choose to launch exclusive content on Tidal.

"Robert told execs at the Universal Music Group that Rihanna and other Tidal artists' music would not be promoted as featured artists on iTunes if they put exclusive music out on Tidal," said a source, referring to Robert Kondrk, Apple's vice president of iTunes Content.

Rihanna recently launched her new song "American Oxygen" on Tidal. After her debut, the sources say Apple botched up her other songs, which were at times "out of commission" on iTunes. Other music industry sources say it is standard practice for companies not to support artists who choose to launch exclusive content on other platforms.

For Apple's part, a spokesperson approached by Page Six said the claim that Rihanna's music was "scrambled" on iTunes is "not true."

Photo: Adam Glanzman | Flickr

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