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Is Jay-Z Launching A Label With Apple? A Closer Look

SEATTLE (Hypebot) – The blogs are buzzing with a rumor "confirmed" only by Boy Genius Report that rapper and mogul Jay-Z is starting a record label backed by Apple. Jay-Z just left his job as head of Def Jam and some rumors point to a clause in his contract there that would allow him to buy out the contracts of some of the artists that he signed. Other rumors point to Beyonce joining him at the new label.

How does the story bear up under closer scrutiny?

On the side of this rumor being true:

  • There is no love lost between Apple and the labels
  • It is unlikely that the majors would stop distributing their music via iTunes given the service's dominate position
  • Steve Jobs has a history of forcing product loyalty via closed systems. (i.e. Apple's proprietary DRM). Exclusive release windows would fit that model
  • Jay-Z is likely to use his cache' to find a major partner with deep pockets for any new venture
  • Both Steve Jobs and Jay-Z enjoy making "bold" moves that appear cutting edge

    On the side of the rumor being false:

  • The inevitable riff with other labels would strengthen the hands of Apple's competitors at a time when it is already vulnerable
  • After being stifled at Universal, would Jay-Z really want another partner legendary control issues and alternative motives
  • Does Steve Jobs believe that anything resembling to the old model of expensive executives and costly marketing still can turn a profit?
  • How would Wall Street – which of late has battered music industry stocks but been in love with Apple – react?

    Wild Cards:

  • Live Nation's new Artist Nation is looking for creative partnerships beyond its Madonna 360 deal
  • Deep pocket alternatives like Microsoft and Google