Kanye West apparently made a mistake when he told fans that his Life of Pablo would be a Title exclusive and people paid for subscriptions based on that promise, Fox News, April 19, 2016, reported that one of his fans is not amused by this outright lie or mistake and he is suing Kanye over the matter.
Justin Baker-Rhett filed papers in the U.S. District Court in San Francisco claiming that Kanye West tricked him into paying $9.99 a month for a Tidal subscription just so he could listen to “Life of Pablo.” For a time, Kanye’s album was only available in Tidal, but now the album was released for free on Apple Music and Spotify among others and Kanye was selling it for $20 on his own website.
Kanye West posted his promise on his Twitter page which Justin’s lawyer also included in the lawsuit.
“My album will never never never be on Apple. And it will never be for sale… You can only get it on Tidal.”
When around two million people signed up on Tidal just to listen to Kanye’s music it was a much needed boost to the struggling site, which Kanye is an owner-artist. In the first 10 days that his album was released and it was streamed over 205 million times. According to the Guardian, “The US recording industry counts 1,500 streams as the equivalent of one album sale – which in the case of “The Life of Pablo” would equal about 267,000 albums.”
The lawsuit also states, “Mr. West’s promise of exclusivity also had a grave impact on consumer privacy.”
When people subscribed to Tidal, they had to provide personal information about themselves, including a credit card number, and music preferences.
Baker-Rhett said that when Kanye told his fans that only Tidal would have his Pablo album, they believed him. When his album was added to the site, Tidal’s subscriber base jumped to 3 million, and the site’s value jumped from $60 million to $84 million. Pitchfork reports the Life of Pablo was released on Tidal in February, but on March 31, it became available on all major non-Tidal streaming services, pushing Kanye’s music to hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart.
Justin Baker-Rhett’s lawyer, Jay Edelson said in a phone interview.”You can’t trick people into paying money and giving up personal information just because the company is struggling,”
Reuters reported that Jay Edelson released a statement in which he said, “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 an interview with Pitchfork, Jay Edelson said, “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.”
Kanye West debuted “Life of Pablo” at his Yeeze 3 fashion show.
Does Justin Baker-Rhett have a good case against Kanye West, or will Kanye pay him off and the case will be forgotten?