Tidal Sued Over Claims That Kanye West’s Album Would Be Exclusive
Some of rapper Kanye West’s fans are not happy with him.
A lawsuit seeking class action status was filed on Monday against music streaming service Tidal, acquired by rappers West and Jay-Z last year. The suit, on behalf on Tidal’s users, claims that the company broke its promise that West’s long-anticipated album, The Life of Pablo, would only be made available to the service’s subscribers.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, alleges that Tidal and West duped users into signing up for the music streaming service under the pretext that it would be the only way to access West’s album. In fact, West eventually released the album to Tidal’s major competitors, Apple Music and Spotify.
By convincing fans that they could only get West’s album through its service, Tidal also collected subscribers’ personal data, including credit card information, the lawsuit says. The complaint seeks to have Tidal refund subscribers who signed up to access The Life of Pablo along with unspecified punitive damages and a requirement that the company delete information about impacted subscribers.
After being acquired by its celebrity owners last year, Tidal relaunched amid considerable buzz from music fans and the media. The company said it would do a better job than the industry at-large of supporting musicians by making the service entirely paid, unlike others like Spotify that have a free tier.
In return, Tidal promised to provide subscribers with exclusive content like songs and albums only available through its service. However, despite having support from several high-profile music artists like Beyonce and Madonna, the music streaming service failed to get the traction with users that it had hoped for.
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According to the lawsuit and its plaintiff, Justin Baker-Rhett, Tidal and West plotted to falsely advertise the exclusive streaming of the album on the service to boost subscription numbers and the company’s overall valuation. The album’s release helped Tidal’s number of subscribers climb from one million to three million, according to the lawsuit.
Baker-Rhett is represented by Edelson PC, founded by Jay Edelson, a firm best known for filing class action lawsuits about consumer privacy issues against tech giants like Apple, Google, and Amazon. Edelson is fairly confident the lawsuit will be granted class certification. “Kanye and Tidal impacted two million people in exactly the same way,” he said in an interview with Fortune.
Fortune has contacted Tidal and will update if we hear back.