Kanye’s The Life of Pablo could have ended up on Apple Music instead of Tidal at one point.

Apple executive Jimmy Iovine, has denied playing a part in Frank Ocean’s acrimonious split from Universal.

Ocean self-released Blonde through Apple Music earlier this year after fulfilling his contractual obligations with Def Jam, a subsidiary of Universal, with his visual album Endless, released days before.

The singer’s relationship with Def Jam soured after he was signed in 2009 with Ocean later openly criticising the label for effectively shelving him. Ocean described the process of freeing himself from his contract as “a seven-year chess game”, even going as far as to purchase back all of his master recordings.

In an interview with The New York Times, Iovine said Apple had no involvement in Ocean’s split.

“We wanted to work with Frank Ocean,” he said. “We had a deal—we were working with Frank Ocean, and he controlled where his music came out. Why would it be in our interest to be part of a fast one, a slow one or any one? We were getting the record no matter what. Whatever happened with him and Universal is really between him and Universal. It has nothing to do with us. Nothing.”

Iovine also hinted that Kanye West was at one point considering signing a deal with Apple to release his latest album The Life of Pablo.

“He was part of Jay’s thing and chose to make a deal with his friend, and I respect that. I kind of felt like it was going to happen before it did. Jay Z and Kanye — that’s a very natural thing for them to work together. Everybody moves on. You try to do the best with what you’ve got and ignore everything else,” he said.

The former record producer also revealed that he wanted to launch Adele’s 25 through Apple but admitted that “it wasn’t in the cards. It just wasn’t in our realm.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Iovine was asked if there is any animosity between streaming competitors.

“Not even one speck of it,” he responded. “I see Jay all the time. I want him to do great. There was never one record company. When I produced records, I used to ask Quincy [Jones] to come in and help me. We are competitors, yes. But as far as anything more, absolutely not.”

Iovine put an end to rumours of an Apple buyout of Tidal in September, despite calls from Kanye to acquire Jay Z’s streaming service.



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