Self proclaimed best musical artist of all time* Kanye West isn't going to have anything to do with streaming his latest album on Apple Music and instead is going exclusively with Tidal. This is after he begged people to sign up for the streaming music service a couple days earlier—and tried to get Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg to throw some serious money his way—in what looks like a complete and very public emotional unraveling.
Kanye West at Tribeca Film Festival 2009, photo by David Shankbone
Kanye made his intentions pretty clear on Twitter saying, "My album will never never never be on Apple. And it will never be for sale... You can only get it on Tidal." Tidal being the artist-backed streaming music service that promised to pay out better royalties, but so far has failed to give Apple, Spotify, or Pandora any serious competition.
My album will never never never be on Apple. And it will never be for sale... You can only get it on Tidal.— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) February 15, 2016
Tidal launched in spring 2015 with an impressive list of artists on board such as Madonna, Beyoncé, Daft Punk, Deadmau5, Alicia Keys, Rihana, and Kanye West. Those names haven't been enough, however, to draw in subscribers and most artists involved continue to distribute their work through multiple services.
Kanye, however, doesn't want The Life of Pablo on Apple Music. Sure, that could be nothing more than a publicity ploy to drive up Tidal subscriptions, but considering his other Twitter activity recently, it feels more like a man coming unhinged.
Shortly before proclaiming Apple Music verboten, he made it clear "white publications" have no place talking about "black music." Kanye said,
To Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, New York Times, and any other white publication. Please do not comment on black music anymore.
Last week he used Twitter to ask Mark Zuckerberg and Larry Page for a billion dollars to pursue "Kanye West ideas," and revealed he's US$53 million in debt. At the beginning of February he locked horns with fellow musical artists Wiz Khalifa over the name of the still to be released The Life of Pablo, and had a total meltdown over what he thought was a reference to his wife Kim Kardashian that turned out to really be Khalifa's own strain of marijuana.
The exchange was bizarre and seen as another example of Kanye being Kanye. He later deleted the exchange, but there are plenty more littering his Twitter stream. And don't forget, he also infamously came on stage during the MTV Music Awards in 2009 to interrupt Taylor Swift's acceptance speech for Best Female Video with his "Imma let you finish" line, and interrupted Beck at the 2015 Grammys.
Any of these incidents on their own make Kanye look like a self absorbed jerk, but together they paint an image of someone who seriously needs professional counseling. In his defense, the part about never putting his new album on Apple Music isn't a psychological issue; it's just a bad business move.
It looks like I'm not alone in my concern for Kanye's mental health. Rhymefest, another rap artist, took to Twitter to send out a plea for him saying, "my brother needs help, in the form of counseling. Spirtual & mental. He should step away from the public & yesmen & heal."
If anyone knows the name of a good psychiatrist, send them Kanye's way—and maybe a business adviser, too.
*Kanye the best musical artist ever? He's talented, but isn't a John Lenon, David Bowie, Janis Joplin, Jimmi Hendrix, or Mozart.