A California man has aligned with a Chicago law firm to file a class action lawsuit against Jay Z’s Tidal and Kanye West concerning the exclusivity of The Life of Pablo. At the heart of the lawsuit, filed Monday at San Francisco’s U.S. District Court, is a complaint that West and Tidal misled consumers by having them believe The Life of Pablo would only be available on Tidal, only for it to pop up on other streaming services six weeks later.
In the lawsuit, filed on behalf of consumer Jonathan Baker-Rhett, law firm Edelson PC accuse Tidal and West of using the lure of a one-month free trial as well as West’s “exclusive” album to boost membership for the streaming service that was, in their words, “quietly teetering on the brink of collapse.” “Consumers were uniformly tricked into handling over their private data and credit card information by a singular mistruth,” the lawsuit reads.
The $5 million lawsuit demands that Tidal delete the “private information” of both Baker-Rhett and anyone else that joins with the class action suit. “In reality, neither Mr. West nor [Jay Z’s company] S. Carter Enterprises ever intended The Life of Pablo to run exclusively on the Tidal platform,” the lawsuit adds. “To the contrary, they — knowing that Tidal was in trouble but not wanting to invest their own money to save the company — chose to fraudulently induce millions of American consumers into paying for Tidal’s rescue.”
In a statement to Rolling Stone, Edelson PC founder and CEO Jay Edelson said, “Kanye has the power to send one tweet out into the world and get 2 million people to act on it. This suit is about holding him accountable when he abuses that power.”
Representatives for Tidal, West and Jay Z did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
“My album will never never never be on Apple. And it will never be for sale … You can only get it on Tidal,” West tweeted on February 15th. “Please to all my friends fans and music lovers. Sign up to Tidal now. Also all Good Fridays songs will be on Tidal. Me and Kendrick got 40 songs and me and Young Thug got 40 songs. 40/40 club!!!” West has not posted any additional Good Fridays song on Tidal since the arrival of The Life of Pablo.
“By the time Mr. West changed course and broadly released The Life of Pablo, the deceptive marketing ploy had served its purpose,” the complaint alleges. “Tidal’s subscriber numbers had tripled, streaming numbers were through the roof and Tidal had collected the personal information, credit card numbers, and social media information of millions of deceived consumers,” the lawsuit adds. “As a result, Tidal’s valuation – the lifeblood of any new startup – soared.”