Kanye West has been hit with a lawsuit accusing the musician of duping fans into paying for the music-streaming service Tidal to get Kanye's new album Life of Pablo.
The suit, filed in the US District Court in San Francisco, also names Tidal and rapper Jay-Z, who owns the service. The suit claims fans were misled into paying for Tidal, believing it would be the only way to hear Kanye's album, reports the Rolling Stone. But Life of Pablo began also streaming on Apple and Spotify less than six weeks after its release.
The lawsuit, filed on behalf of California music consumer Justin Baker-Rhett by Chicago law firm Edelson PC, accusesTidal and West of using the lure of a one-month free trial and access to West's "exclusive" album to boost membership for the streaming service that was "quietly teetering on the brink of collapse".
"In reality, neither Mr West nor [Jay Z's company] S Carter Enterprises ever intended The Life of Pablo to run exclusively on the Tidal platform," adds the suit. "To the contrary, they — knowing that Tidal was in trouble but not wanting to invest their own money to save the company — chose to fraudulently induce millions of American consumers into paying for Tidal's rescue."
As well as losing money to the streaming service, fans also turned over personal date to Tidal, including credit card information, the lawsuit alleges. "Consumers were uniformly tricked into handling over their private data and credit card information by a singular mistruth," the lawsuit reads.
The suit is demanding that Tidal refunds subscriptions to those who signed up expressly to access Life of Pablo. It is also calling on the company to erase any collected data about those users — and is asking for unspecified damages.
"Kanye has the power to send one tweet out into the world and get two million people to act on it. This suit is about holding him accountable when he abuses that power," Edelson PC CEO Jay Edelson told the Rolling Stone in a statement.
In a February 2016 tweet Kanye vowed: "My album will never never never be on Apple. And it will never be for sale. You can only get it on Tidal. Please to all my friends, fans and music lovers. Sign up to Tidal now."
There was no immediate response to the lawsuit from West, Jay-Z or Tidal, but Jay-Z has insisted in the past that the company is doing well.