A class-action lawsuit alleging Kanye West tricked his fans by claiming on Twitter that his album The Life of Pablo would only ever be on JAY Z's Tidal streaming service will be allowed to go forward.
A federal judge ruled that Justin Baker-Rhett, who subscribed to Tidal to hear TLOP and later initiated the class action against Kanye and Tidal's owner Aspiro, will be able to pursue the case on grounds of fraudulent inducement.
After six weeks just on Tidal, TLOP was released on all platforms. But not before Tidal's subscription numbers tripled from 1 million to 3 million.
Baker-Rhett's lawyers are now attempting to set up a class of consumers who were impacted by Ye's claim of Tidal exclusivity. They propose:
"All persons in the United States who both (1) subscribed to the Tidal streaming service between February 15, 2016 and April 1, 2016, and (2) streamed any track from The Life of Pablo within the first 24 hours after initiating his or her subscription."
Kanye's lawyer tried to get the case dismissed by arguing there was no malicious intent behind the Tweet.
U.S. District Court judge Gregory Woods disagreed.
"Mr. West’s argument is tenuous, and certainly does not pass muster in the context of a motion to dismiss, when the Court is required to draw all inferences in favor of the non-moving party," wrote the judge. "After all, Mr. West tweeted that 'My album will never never never be on Apple. And it will never be for sale' (emphasis added). He did not commit that a particular version, or mix, or master of his album would not be on Apple—his commitment was that the 'album,' 'it,' would not be. And the album was made available on Apple Music shortly after the Tweet. 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 complaint plausibly pleads that Mr. West’s statement that his album would never never never be available on Apple Music or for sale was false."
The judge will soon decide whether to certify the class action and who exactly will be in the class.
In a completely separate but also ongoing proceeding, Tidal is being investigated for inflating the streaming numbers of TLOP at the expense of other artists on JAY-Z's streaming platform.