In a series of Instagram posts, now deleted, the musician Ye (formerly known as Kanye West) claims to have turned down – or lost – a $100m contract with Apple.
Apple Music withdrew the offer,
AppleInsider reports, after Ye announced that his new Donda 2 album would only be available through his own Stem Player. (This is an unconventional bit of hardware that
The Verge describes as “a weird music gadget that lets you listen to music and manipulate it in real-time”.)
“I turned down a hundred million dollar Apple deal,” the artist boasted.
The affair is slightly confusing, because Ye appears to have missed out on two separate windfalls from Apple: one is the fee for the album appearing on Apple Music, and the other seems to be a sponsorship deal which broke down after (but not necessarily because of, we should stress) the Stem Player announcement.
The latter story was broken by
HipHopDX. The musician had posted a message in which someone called Damian wrote: “Please inform Ye that the apple [sic] is no longer doing the sponsorship deal.”
The artist’s relationship with Cupertino now appears to be at an all-time low. In one of the posts, Ye reportedly wrote: “I love how Apple only sees artist in only one way. They’ll sit with [Spotify CEO] Daniel Ek but won’t meet with Ye.”
But his dissatisfaction is rooted in wider causes than just Apple’s approach to him personally. In the original announcement, he cited the revenue share taken by streaming companies as the reason for launching on Stem Player only.
“Donda 2 will only be available on my own platform, the Stem Player,” he said. “Not on Apple Amazon Spotify or YouTube. Today artists get just 12% of the money the industry makes. It’s time to free music from the oppressive system.”
The previous Donda album was available on Apple Music, and broke records the day it appeared – even though it appeared on Apple Music one month later than on Tidal.
Donda 2 is scheduled for release today (22 February). Go to
stemplayer.com for more details.
This article originally appeared on
Macworld Sweden. Translation (using
DeepL) and additional reporting by David Price.