HITS Daily Double


UPDATE: Sources at Sony say this weekend’s Page Six story about the alleged “streaming war” surrounding Jay Z’s Tidal music service got the facts all wrong. These sources say the label group is allowing Tidal to use its music while negotiating a deal that’s considered industry standard—and very similar to the terms of their deals with iTunes, Spotify and other streaming services. Stay tuned.

Lots of industry chatter about a New York Post story posted Saturday night and headlined “Streaming music ‘war’ looming between Jay Z’s Tidal and Apple.” It was written not by respected media reporter Claire Atkinson but by Page Six gossip columnist Emily Smith, causing some to view its revelations with a healthy dose of skepticism.

“Music industry sources say Apple is interfering with Jay Z’s music streaming service Tidal in an attempt to crush it ahead of the relaunch of Apple’s Beats Music, set for June,” Smith began. She then quoted a source who claimed that Apple “deliberately took a long time to approve Tidal iOS app updates. Tidal had a new app on Android on April 15, but still hasn’t received approval for Apple’s iOS app store.”

Robert Kondrk, vice president of iTunes Content, has also declared war on artists who sign up with Tidal. Another source offered, “Robert [Kondrk] told execs at 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.” After “American Oxygen” debuted on Tidal, the source continued, “Rihanna’s songs were scrambled and were out of commission for periods of time.”

An Apple spokesman said the scrambling claim was false.

Another source confirmed ­Kondrk’s threat that Tidal artists would not promoted on iTunes: “That is normal operating procedure. If an artist chooses to market content exclusively with another rival retailer, no company is going to market or push content from that artist that hard.”

Smith ended her story with the following contention: “Although there were multiple Sony artists at the Tidal launch, including Beyoncé, Sony Music will not grant Tidal a license to stream from Sony artists. Sony Music boss Doug Morris is now asking for $35 million in advance and $20 million in one year. A rep for Sony Music declined to comment.”

Given the fact that her sources were anonymous and that their relationship to the companies and individuals named went unexplained, it’s anyone’s guess how much if any of Smith’s story is accurate.