Apple threatened Tidal with a $20 million lawsuit if the company streamed Drake's charity performance from New Orleans to benefit victims of Hurricane Katrina this past Friday night, Aug.28. Apple claimed that streaming Drake's performance would violate the singer's exclusive deal with the company, which just lost a key executive.
Friday night was Lil Wayne's Lil WeezyAna Fest in New Orleans, a star-studded charity performance event benefiting The Carter Fund, which helps fund after school programs for many kids who are still affected by the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina. Among the performers were Drake, Nicki Minaj and Lil Wayne himself, along with a reunion of his Hot Boys group from the 1990's.
Apple Music execs, however, weren't feeling so charitable and threatened a huge lawsuit if Drake's two-song performance at the event was streamed as part of the overall live stream of the event via Tidal. Drake recently signed an exclusive deal with Apple music worth a reported $19 million. The deal includes release of an exclusive album as well as appearances by the rapper on Apple Music's Beats 1 radio station.
Tidal acquiesced and tweeted during the event that "Apple is interfering with artistry and will not allow this artist to stream. Sorry for Big Brother's inconvenience. We'll be back after the performance."
In other Apple Music news, the service lost a key executive in a surprise resignation . Ian Rogers was responsible for the development of Apple Music's new Beats 1 streaming radio station. Rogers hired Zane Lowe, former top DJ at BBC1 Radio as the head curator of the channel, and was previously the CEO of Beats, prior to the acquisition of the company by Apple last year.
The news is especially surprising because of the timing. Apple Music just launched two months ago, along with Beats 1, so it seems a top executive departure at this stage may indicate some trouble at the company. While the actual Apple Music app has been criticized for its complicated interface, Beats 1 has been well accepted so far, and praised for its DJ lineup and current and varied music mix.