Fan sues Kanye West, Jay Z's Tidal over 'Pablo' album

Mon Apr 18, 2016 2:20pm EDT
 
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By Jonathan Stempel

(Reuters) - A Kanye West fan sued the rapper and a company owned by Jay Z on Monday, saying they tricked people into subscribing to the music streaming service Tidal by fraudulently claiming it was the only way to buy West's album "The Life of Pablo."

In a proposed class action lawsuit filed in San Francisco federal court, Justin Baker-Rhett said he signed up for the $9.99 a month Tidal service after West tweeted on Feb. 15 that "Pablo" would never be sold anywhere else.

But the California resident called the exclusivity promise a ploy to add millions of subscribers to a struggling Tidal, which Jay Z controls, and that West released the album 1-1/2 months later on Apple Music and Spotify, and on his own website.

Baker-Rhett said the scheme tripled Tidal's subscriber base to 3 million, boosted its value by $60 million to $84 million, and threatened fans' privacy by forcing them to turn over credit card and other personal information.

"You can't trick people into paying money and giving up personal information just because the company is struggling," Baker-Rhett's lawyer Jay Edelson said in a phone interview.

Tidal and West did not immediately respond to email requests for comment.

"Pablo" was streamed more than 250 million times within 10 days of release, the lawsuit said.

West's tweet, included in the complaint, said: "My album will never never never be on Apple. And it will never be for sale... You can only get it on Tidal."   Continued...

 
Kanye West and Jay-Z (R) accept the award for best group at the 2012 BET Awards in Los Angeles, July 1, 2012. A Kanye West fan sued the rapper and Jay Z's Tidal on April 18, 2016, claiming they tricked people into subscribing to the music streaming service by fraudulently claiming it was the only way to buy West's album "The Life of Pablo."  REUTERS/Phil McCarten/File Photo