Kanye West and the streaming service Tidal are facing a class action lawsuit, accused of lying about Tidal’s exclusivity of Kanye’s The Life of Pablo album. On behalf of himself and other fans of the hip-hop artist, Justin Rhett-Baker filed a class action lawsuit against Kanye West and Tidal, claiming that Kanye’s deceptive statements about Tidal’s exclusivity of The Life of Pablo were lies which prompted him to sign up for Tidal and share his personal information. According to Complex, a class action lawsuit brings together a group of consumers with similar claims, often in situations where high litigation expenses and low per-person damages may discourage the aggrieved customers from filing individual lawsuits.
— Music Effecto (@musicEffecto) May 26, 2016
In this case, anyone who subscribed to Tidal between February 15 and April 1 and streamed a track from The Life of Pablo during the first 24 hours after subscribing is a member of the class action. The complaint refers to Tidal’s statements and Kanye’s own tweets, both of which seem to validate the exclusivity of the album to Tidal. Six weeks after the release, The Life of Pablo became available on other streaming services, as well as being available for sale on Kanye’s personal website.
Kanye West’s ‘The Life of Pablo’ Finally Available Outside of TIDAL Tomorrow https://t.co/Wqdlk7fYWD pic.twitter.com/Yzn0WcNNtp
— Aaron Fernandes (@AARONRFERNANDES) May 26, 2016
The members of the class action are relying on Kanye’s tweets as evidence of desperate and deceptive measures to increase Tidal’s customer base. As the millions of new users signed up to listen to The Life of Pablo, Tidal requested personal details and access to linked social media accounts. It has been pointed out that not only does Kanye West benefit from his own record sales, but he also stands to earn profit from the monetization of Tidal’s subscriber data because she is the co-owner of Tidal.
However, it is not clear whether Kanye West has officially uploaded two different versions of The Life of Pablo; one that’s streaming on Tidal and another version that is available on other sites like Apple Music and Spotify. According to Spin, it seems that the rapper has a habit of tinkering with his own music, producing different versions by tweaking backing vocals, manipulating lead vocals, and removing some of the background music or instrumentals in some of his rap songs.
However, the lawyers for the class action lawsuit will certainly attempt to obtain any records from Tidal regarding use of the subscriber’s personal information. While the case may have some merit on consumer deception grounds, whether or not the information obtained was used or has value in the context of Tidal’s business will be pivotal in estimating the actual damages. And fans really need to worry about what will happen to the personal data that they shared because Kanye West has a record of being careless with his own data and proprietary information.
According to News.com.au, Kanye West’s wife, Kim Kardashian, revealed that Kanye lost his early raps for The Life of Pablo after his daughter North flushed away his cellphone down the toilet in January 2015. The phone contained the raps and lyrics that Kanye had been working on for his most recent album.
— ELLE Malaysia (@ELLEMalaysia) April 20, 2016
And while he is being criticized by his fans, Kanye West is being honored by art lovers like Brianni Taylor who is curating a Kanye West-themed art exhibition in New York City. According to Hot New Hip Hop, the event titled “The Life of Pablo Art Exhibit” will not only pay tribute to Kanye West but it will also raise funds for “The Kids League,” a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide disadvantaged children with active learning workshops.
Tidal and Kanye were given 30 days to respond to the class action lawsuit, and it will be interesting to see what’s around the corner for Kanye West. Will this lawsuit encourage Kanye to be more careful with his tweets and promises to his fans in future?
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