Pitchfork is reporting that Kanye West and Tidal must address a lawsuit accusing both parties with fraud over The Life of Pablo being a Tidal exclusive. According to the 2016 class-action complaint filed by Justin Baker-Rhett, a self-described Kanye fan, he claimed that he subscribed to Tidal because he believed it was the only place he would ever be able to hear TLOP.
The now-since deleted tweet –– "My album will never be on Apple. And it will never be for sale...you can only get it on Tidal" –– from West's Twitter account caused fans to rush to sign up to the service. But after its release, the album was subsequently made available on all streaming platforms. Baker-Rhett contends that this is consumer fraud on West and Tidal's part.
Last year, Tidal filed a motion to have the lawsuit dismiss, pointing out that The Life of Pablo was “updated and remixed numerous times, with different vocals, lyrics, and arrangements.” West argues that his tweet was true because only the newly updated and remixed versions of TLOP “have been made available for purchase or streaming on platforms other than Tidal.”
U.S. District Court Judge Gregory Woods granted some parts of Tidal’s motions to be dismissed in the proposed class-action lawsuit but denied other parts, allowing the case to move forward based on West's tweet.
Baker-Rhett's attorney, Jay Edelson, applauded the judge's decision and told Pitchfork, “The defendants made a bunch of arguments to get the case thrown out but the court accepted our core premise: what we alleged constitutes consumer fraud."
“The court wants us to amend our pleadings and, based on how it decided certain issues, we won’t easily be able to have one nationwide class," he continued. "That means that we will be bringing a bunch of state-by-state class actions. This is a bit of a ‘be careful what you wish for’ situation for the defendants."
"We now will have a chance to move on with this case, including deposing Kanye,” he concluded.