Kanye West just can't escape the heat, can he? On Monday, a fan named Justin Baker-Rhett filed a class-action lawsuit against Kanye West and Tidal for allegedly misleading consumers about the exclusivity of West's album The Life of Pablo, Billboard reports. Upon TLOP's release in February, West announced via Twitter that fans would have to subscribe to Tidal to download it. The rapper declared on Twitter, "My album will never never never be on Apple. And it will never be for sale... You can only get it on Tidal." Baker-Rhett claims both West and Tidal tricked fans of the rapper into subscribing to the music screaming service and paying at least $9.99 per month in order to get the album, since it is now streaming on Spotify and is available on Apple Music and Google Play Music.
Bustle has reached out to reps for Tidal and West for comment, but has not yet heard back.
Variety reports part of the the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco reads,
By the time Mr. West changed course and broadly released The Life of Pablo, the deceptive marketing ploy had served its purpose: Tidal’s subscriber numbers had tripled, streaming numbers were through the roof, and Tidal had collected the personal information, credit card numbers, and social media information of millions of deceived consumers.
Baker-Rhett's attorney, Jay Edelson, also spoke out about the lawsuit in a written statement to Billboard and 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.
Per the lawsuit, Baker-Rhett wants a judge to order Tidal to delete any personal information it collected, like credit card numbers and music preferences. The lawsuit also alleges that West and Tidal never intended for TLOP to be exclusive and only wanted to boost Tidal's subscribers numbers.
According to a Tidal report released in March (via Billboard), thanks to TLOP, the music service surpassed 250 million streams in its first 10 days of release. Based on the latter, the lawsuit alleges as much as $84 million could have been added to Tidal's revenue.
Baker-Rhett wants Tidal users reimbursed for any alleged subscription fees paid as a result of West's album, in addition to making a major change: free trials no longer automatically changing into paid subscriptions, according to Variety. As it goes with many subscription services, users enter their credit card number at the start of a trial, and then are responsible for canceling the service before their free trial is up. Otherwise, they will be charged. Regarding the latter, Variety reports, "The lawsuit only demands this change for any trials started as a result of the TLOP promotion."