The “lies” of Pablo: Why Kanye and Tidal deceived us all


Kanye West: a mortal man, a genius, and our generation’s most formative ego. Like him or not, it’s an undeniable fact that Mr. West is the landscaper of the cultural countryside we collectively reside in.

With the February release of his much-anticipated album “The Life of Pablo,” formerly known as “Waves,” formerly known as “Swish,” and despite all that fans may admire about Kanye, his decisiveness has much room for improvement.

That’s why when West announced on Feb. 15 that he would be exclusively streaming his seventh studio album on Tidal (the streaming service made famous by its owner, hip hop mogul and Kanye bestie Jay-Z) and never make the album available for purchase, his fans were skeptical at the claims.

“My album will never be on Apple,” tweeted West in February, “and it will never be for sale. You can only get it on Tidal.”

Despite Kanye’s flip-flopping nature, he seemed adamant that “The Life of Pablo” would never be available for ownership, rather just streaming and just on Tidal. Fans responded en masse, understanding the contradiction in full, but still thirsty enough to hear new Kanye tracks that submission to the ploy was acceptable.

Here is a man who is trying to spread the power of his music by limiting the services on which it was offered? Not possible, at least in the long term. And yet despite this, fans signed up for Tidal’s free one-month trial in droves, entering credit card information that they never expected to be charged with.

Only the artist the with the power of Kanye West could get fans to sign up to a streaming service that had, at this point, experienced major issues with data usage, connecting to the internet, and components of the overall user experience.

On April 1, West announced that “The Life of Pablo” was now not only available on established streaming services like Spotify, but the album would be sold on iTunes, fans flipped. This was shortly after everyone’s one month Tidal trials had run out, and the music community felt jipped. One California man is acting on it. Law firm Edelson PC filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of consumer Justin Baker-Rhett against Jay-Z’s Tidal and Kanye West.

The concern of the lawsuit is solely the exclusivity of “The Life of Pablo,” and complains that both West and Tidal mislead fans by having them believe the album would only be on Tidal, only to be available for sale on several services weeks later.

The lawsuit says that Tidal and West collaborated to use the lure of a one-month free trial to prop up a steaming service that was teetering on the brink of collapse. Because of this, millions of consumers’ private data was amassed through credit card numbers and addresses. The fraudulent inducing of millions of Americans could cost Tidal and West up to $5 million. As a result, Tidal’s valuation soared in addition to the number of customers and investors it deceived.

In a statement to Rolling Stone, Edelson PC founder and CEO Jay Edelson said, “Kanye has the power to send one tweet out into the world and get 2 million people to act on it. This suit is about holding him accountable when he abuses that power.”

How much does a tweet cost? We’ll soon find out as fans wait with baited breath, commiserating with both sides of the legal battle, but hoping in the end for more Kanye tracks for less fiduciary commitment.

Campus Chronicle
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