The Suit of Pablo: Kanye, Tidal await decision on whether ‘Pablo’ lawsuit could go class action

A music subscriber filed suit against the rapper, who has already seen his share of controversy this summer, and now things could get even stickier


While Kanye West may not feel like answering whether Donald Trump cares about black people, he likely will be paying close attention as he and Tidal, the music streaming service best known as the home of Jay-Z and Beyoncéare staring down a potential class action lawsuit.

Back in June, a Kanye fan named Justin Baker-Rhett filed the suit in reaction to West claiming that his 2016 album The Life of Pablo would be on Tidal only.

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“My album will never, never, never be on Apple,” West said of his album’s exclusivity. “And it will never be for sale. You can only get it on Tidal.”

Rhett says that he signed up for Tidal on the sole condition that the album would be exclusive to the service. Just six weeks later, the album was on Apple Music.

Jay Edelson, Rhett’s attorney, said at the time that “the court accepted our core premise: what we alleged constitutes consumer fraud.” However, due to the court’s ruling, the class action will not be one national one, and will instead consist of several “state-by-state” cases.

Edelson also tweeted, that he plans to depose West:

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A New York federal judge allowed the suit to move forward with a claim of fraudulent inducement. Now the question is whether Rhett’s attorneys can get class action certification.

“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,” the attorneys said in the memorandum.

“Was the at-issue Tweet false at the time it was made? Did the post-release changes West made to The Life of Pablo render the widely released album different, such that the album’s eventual release rendered West’s statements immaterial? What was Mr. West’s intent when he told the world that The Life of Pablo would only ever be available on Tidal? Was it reasonable to rely on that representation? Can Aspiro [Tidal’s owner] be held liable for West’s statements?”

U.S. District Court Gregory Woods gave his opinion about Kanye’s claim of innocent intent back in June.

“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,” Woods said in the opinion. “After all, Mr. West tweeted that ‘My album will never, never, never be on Apple. And it will never be for sale’ (emphasis added).

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“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,” he added. “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 was false.”

West has not commented on the judge’s opinion, and there is no word on when a decision on the suit will be made.