West to face lawsuit for allegedly duping fans

A fan is seeking a class-action case after Kanye West allegedly duped fans into subscribing to the Tidal streaming service.
A fan is seeking a class-action case after Kanye West allegedly duped fans into subscribing to the Tidal streaming service. PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK • A judge cleared the way last Friday for Kanye West to face trial for allegedly duping fans into subscribing to the Tidal streaming service to hear the rap superstar's album The Life Of Pablo.

A fan is seeking a class-action case after West tweeted that the 2016 album would be available only on Tidal, the platform spearheaded by fellow rapper Jay-Z.

West tweeted that his album "will never never never be on Apple" - but with Tidal trailing in subscriber numbers, his album became available six weeks later on the tech giant's streaming service, Apple Music, as well as the largest streaming platform, Spotify.

The rapper's lawyers argued that his statement was true when made and that, as he was repeatedly fine-tuning The Life Of Pablo on Tidal, the album was effectively a new, remastered version when it went live on other platforms.

Mr Gregory Woods, a federal judge in New York, wrote: "Regardless of whether or not Mr West's argument will persuade a jury at a later stage in the case, the court has little difficulty concluding that the (plaintiff) plausibly pleads that Mr West's statement that his album would never never never be on Apple Music or for sale was false."

The chaos over The Life Of Pablo has led to a feud, fought through song lyrics, between one-time collaborators West and Jay-Z.

Despite the star power behind it, Tidal has struggled to catch up with Spotify and Apple Music.

Tidal saw a burst of new app downloads two weekends ago when Jay-Z and his wife Beyonce released a surprise joint album, Everything Is Love, exclusively on the platform.

But in a telling sign, the couple kept it as a Tidal exclusive for barely a day before distributing it widely.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 25, 2018, with the headline 'West to face lawsuit for allegedly duping fans'. Print Edition | Subscribe