Kanye West once again finds himself shrouded in controversy as the 38-year-old rapper faces a lawsuit for allegedly deceiving fans surrounding his recent release, The Life of Pablo. A fan, Justin Baker-Rhett, is suing Kanye on claims that West and the streaming service, Tidal, deceived fans into subscribing to the streaming service after stating that it would be the only place to listen to the album, as reported by AP.
Millions of users subscribed to Tidal in February in order to listen to Kanye West’s highly-anticipated album, seeing users pay a fee of $9.99 a month. Users must also disclose personal information to Tidal in order to subscribe. The site was struggling to obtain users prior to the release of Kanye West’s follow-up to 2013’s Yeezus, but the album would soon become available for free on both Apple Music and Spotify despite West’s prior claims that it would not be available on Apple and that Tidal is the only place that it would be available. West has a stake in the company as one of their “owner-artists.” The lawsuit references a tweet that Kanye made on February 15 about the availability of his latest album.
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
According to the lawsuit via AP, the addition of The Life of Pablo to Tidal’s library brought in two million more users and the record was streamed over 250 million times within the first 10 days of its February 14 release. West then made the album available on competing services on April 1. The Life of Pablo then debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 on April 12.
Baker-Rhett’s lawyer, Jay Edelson, spoke to Pitchfork about the proposed class-action lawsuit against Kanye West, which was filed in federal court in San Francisco on Monday 18.
“Mr. Baker-Rhett believes that superstars are required to follow the same rules as everyone else. Even if their streaming service is struggling, they can’t trick millions of people into paying money (and giving up personal information) just to boost valuation numbers.”
A company that is owned by West’s friend and fellow rapper Jay-Z has also been listed, as Jay-Z controls Tidal and recruited a number of high-profile musicians to promote the streaming site. The lawsuit claims that West and Jay-Z’s company deceived users into subscribing so that they could listen to Kanye’s album, via Rolling Stone.
“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. 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.”
Edelson also added in a statement to Rolling Stone that the lawsuit was also about holding Kanye West accountable for abusing his power.
“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.”
The lawsuit claims that the value of the new subscribers and their personal information could be worth up to $84 million, plus Baker-Rhett has requested that Tidal are forced to delete user information for those that signed up to listen to West’s new album.
Representatives for Kanye West and Tidal have yet to comment on the lawsuit.
The news comes after a difficult week for Kanye. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, Kanye West’s surprise appearance during A$AP Rocky’s Coachella set was cut short much to the dismay of fans, all whilst rumours of an impending divorce from Kim Kardashian circulate the press.
— Inquisitr Showbiz (@IQShowbiz) April 18, 2016
[Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images]