Did Kanye West Trick Fans Into Signing Up for Tidal?
Trying to get an artist’s latest album nowadays is like playing a game of musical chairs with streaming music services’ subscriptions.
For example if you want Taylor Swift’s 1989 album, forget about trying to stream it on Spotify, you need to head over to Apple Music in order to “Shake it Off.” Now let’s say you then wanted to watch Rihanna’s pre-release of her latest “Kiss it Better” music video or wanted to anxiously stalk Beyoncé’s highly awaited album release, well then you’d need a subscription to her hubby Jay Z’s subscription service Tidal.
The promise of exclusivity from these sites/apps is so powerful in fact, that it has managed to convince many money-conscious millennials to forego their beloved free versions, for monthly paid access.
So when Kanye declared to consumers that his 7th solo studio album would appear exclusively on Tidal, some Yeezy fans shelled out the $9.99 monthly fee no questions asked, and easily doubled Tidal’s subscribers from 1 million to 2.5 million almost overnight.
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
Tidal quickly became the most downloaded app in the App Store, and Tidal reported that the album was streamed 250 million times in the first 10 days of its release.
The only problem is, “The Life of Pablo” didn’t actually stay exclusive to Tidal. A couple weeks after its debut, the album appeared on Apple Music, Spotify, and then finally West’s website–and Tidal subscribers took notice.
One California man is so angry that he’s filed a class action lawsuit against both Kanye and Tidal. Justin Baker-Rhett alleges that Tidal used its one month free trial and West’s “exclusive” album to boost sales for the service the he says was “quietly teetering on the brink of collapse.”
“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,” said Jay Edelson, the founder and CEO of Baker-Rhett’s law firm Edelson PC, in a statement to Rolling Stone.
The lawsuit is asking that Tidal delete the “private information” of both Baker-Rhett and anyone else that joins with the class action suit, claiming that they swindled subscriber’s card information could amount to as much as $84 million for Tidal.
So far neither Tidal, nor West have released public statements addressing the lawsuit’s allegations that they tricked fans into subscribing.