Update: Apple’s deal with Cash Money Records isn’t for exclusive Apple Music content, but rather for an exclusive documentary, reports Bloomberg.
Apple today has inked a new deal with one of the most popular music labels, Cash Money Records. The co-founder of the label, Birdman, posted on Instagram confirming the deal, sharing a picture of himself with Apple Music executive Larry Jackson. “It’s official…Cash Money makes a power move with Apple Music,” Birdman’s Instagram post said.
Cash Money Records, for those unfamiliar, houses some of the top artists in rap and all of music right now, including Drake, Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, Tyga, Birdman, and others. Former Cash Money artists include Busta Rhymes, DJ Khaled, Bow Wow, and others.
Since Apple Music’s launch, Apple has had a strong relationship with Drake, who was on-stage during the Apple Music unveil keynote and reportedly inked his own $19 million deal with Apple earlier this year. As part of that deal, Drake’s recent “Views” album was an Apple Music exclusive for two weeks. Additionally, Drake has hosted a show on Apple’s always-on Beats 1 radio service.
Cash Money Records, however, has had a rocky few years. Lil Wayne has accused the company and Birdman of not paying artists promptly and mismanaging talent. Wayne has also accused Birdman of stifling creativity and not allowing artists to release music on time.
Nevertheless, the deal with Apple could help Cash Money solve some of its problems. Young Money Entertainment – the imprint of Cash Money that houses Tyga, Drake, Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, and others – has put out eleven number 1 albums in the United States and should Apple be able to get exclusive rights to future offerings, it would have a strong advantage over services like Spotify. Interestingly, however, Lil Wayne is believed to be a part-owner of Tidal (via MBW).
Part of the deal likely hinges upon Apple offering Cash Money artists free promotion both in iTunes and on Apple Music, something it has done in the past for various exclusive offerings, including Taylor Swift’s tour documentary.
Beyond exclusive streaming rights, the partnership could see Apple and Cash Money working together to co-produce video content. It’s been reported in the past that Apple has worked directly with artists on music videos, while Eddy Cue himself has explained that the company is looking for exclusive content opportunities when they complement existing products.
Over recent weeks, Apple has gained exclusive rights to a pair of big upcoming releases: Britney Spears’ “Glory” and Frank Ocean’s “Boys Don’t Cry.”
Even if Cash Money’s reputation has become slightly tainted over the past two years, this deal is big for Apple. Apple is likely hoping that its money and talent will breathe new life into Cash Money and its artists.