Kanye West has hit back at a lawsuit which claimed he conned fans and failed in his promise to deliver The Life of Pablo as an exclusive to Tidal.
West was sued by a supposed fan who argued the rapper and the streaming service engaged in “deceptive conduct” by luring others into subscribing to Tidal on the basis that it was the only channel to hear Pablo, when the album would later enjoy a wider release.
The proposed class action, filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco last year by Justin Baker-Rhett, included references to tweets posted by West, including one that proclaimed, “My album will never never be on Apple. And it will never be for sale… You can only get it on Tidal.”
Pablo first appeared on Tidal in February 2016, but the Chicago hip-hop star tinkered with some of the tracks and a repackaged, alternative version of the album rolled out the following month on rival platforms, including Apple Music and Spotify. These tweaks are central plank to West’s defense. Because it proves his tweets were true, his team argues.
Pablo has been a “living breathing changing creative expression” — a reference to another Kanye tweet — and “he has altered lyrics, changed vocals, added new beats, and remixed songs,” the new document reads. “In other words, the original version of The Life of Pablo, which debuted on Tidal in February 2016, was always exclusive to it.”
Kanye and his team want the lawsuit dismissed.
“The versions of The Life of Pablo that are available on other streaming services are different from the original, Tidal-only version,” notes the new doc, which Billboard has seen. “Plaintiff does not dispute that there are differences between the versions of the album available on the different streaming services, and therefore he has not shown that Mr. West’s tweet about the exclusivity of The Life of Pablo on Tidal was false.”