*Billboard confirms that Drake and Pharrell Williams have signed on for roles in Apple’s revamped music service, expected to be introduced during the company’s 2015 Worldwide Developers Conference next week (June 8-12)
Details of the artists’ involvement have yet to be revealed, but the New York Post reports that Drake, Pharrell and David Guetta would be three of several celebrity “guest DJs” for a revamped iTunes Radio, the result of a year’s worth of integration with Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre’s Beats By Dre, purchased late last May for $3 billion.
Spokespeople for Apple, Drake and Williams declined comment, though one knowledgeable source shot down the Post’s claims that Drake would be paid $19 million for the deal: “Apple doesn’t normally pay artists for those types of collaborations,” the source explained.
Billboard also reports that Drake was poised to be one of the 16 artist partners of Jay Z’s Tidal, but dropped out as late as two days before its March 30 launch event in New York. Jay Z confirmed that Iovine had been trying to poach the same artists he was courting for Tidal, telling Billboard in a March 30 Q&A: “I think that’s just his competitive nature, and I don’t know if he’s looking at the bigger picture: That it’s not about me and it’s not about him; it’s about the future of the music business.”
Jay also noted that he consulted Pharrell’s advice in a May 16 “Tidal Freestyle,” in which he rapped, “I don’t take no checks / I take my respect / Pharrell even told me ‘Go with the best bet’ / Jimmy Iovine offered the safety net / Google came around with a crazy check.”