Kanye West and Tidal Ordered to Face Lawsuit Due to ‘The Life of Pablo’ Exclusivity Claims
Even before he most recently returned to social media, Kanye West's Twitter fingers were getting him in trouble. Yeezy has been ordered by a judge to face a lawsuit levied in 2016, where the complainants accused the Chicago artist of lying about the exclusivity of his The Life of Pablo album in tweets.
Back in 2016, Ye's album, The Life of Pablo, had a strange rollout. After debuting the LP at a listening at Madison Square Garden, the rapper first claimed it would be totally exclusive to Tidal tweeting, "Will never never never be on Apple. And it will never be for sale...You can only get it on Tidal."
The album ended up becoming available on all streaming services and some people who payed for a Tidal subscription just to get TLOP ended up suing West and the streaming service, claiming they were duped into buying the service by a lie. Justin Baker-Rhett filed a class action lawsuit in U.S. District Court in San Francisco claiming the rapper "fraudulently promised fans that his album, The Life of Pablo, would only be available on TIDAL."
Baker-Rhett's attorney Jay Edelson wrote in a statement: "We fully support the right of artists to express themselves freely and creatively, however creative freedom is not a license to mislead the public. We believe that we will be able to prove to a jury that Mr. West and Tidal tricked millions of people into subscribing to their services and that they will ultimately be held accountable for what they did."
In July 2017, 'Ye responded to the lawsuit in an attempt to get it thrown out by saying he altered the album a number of times, so the original Tidal version is not the same as the LP that went out on other streaming services. That did not work.
Court documents obtained by Pitchfork on Friday (June 22), reveal U.S. District Court Judge Gregory Woods recently assessed the case and made a ruling that West and Tidal must answer to the suit in court, while also dismissing some aspects of the allegations.
Edelson seems content with the outcome. "The defendants made a bunch of arguments to get the case thrown out but the court accepted our core premise: what we alleged constitutes consumer fraud," he told Pitchfork. "The court wants us to amend our pleadings and, based on how it decided certain issues, we won’t easily be able to have one nationwide class. That means that we will be bringing a bunch of state-by-state class actions. This is a bit of a 'be careful what you wish for' situation for the defendants."
Kanye and Tidal have had their own falling out, with West ending his exclusivity deal with the company last year.
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