A judge has dismissed parts of a proposed class-action lawsuit alleging fraud against Kanye West and Tidal. It was ruled that the case can continue on, as the claim does cross “the line from conceivable to plausible,” the judge noted, according to Billboard.
Kanye fan Justin Baker-Rhett claims in his 2016 lawsuit that West and Tidal tricked the public into subscribing to the streaming service through false claims it was the only place to hear West’s highly anticipated seventh studio album, The Life of Pablo, only to see it available on other platforms less than two months later.
On Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Gregory Woods granted parts of Tidal’s motions to dismiss Baker-Rhett’s proposed class-action lawsuit, but refused to toss the whole thing.
Per Woods’ ruling, the lawsuit will move forward as it relates to a tweet by West on Feb. 15, 2016, when he said the album “will never never never be on Apple. And it will never be for sale… You can only get it on Tidal.” Six weeks later, “The Life of Pablo” was available through Apple and other services.
With note to Tidal’s struggle to turn a profit, the lawsuit alleges that the claims about West’s highly anticipated album helped boost the streaming platform’s subscribers from 1 million to 3 million within the first 10 days of its release. And because West was a celebrity shareholder with a 3 percent ownership stake in Tidal, it asserts he was an agent of the company when he made his statement. Which was described as a “reaffirmation” of a tweet from Tidal’s Twitter account the day before announcing the company was bringing The Life of Pablo “to fans around the globe” with exclusive streaming.
Judge Woods deemed that statement true on its face, since the album was exclusively streaming the album for six weeks.
“These allegations, together with the complaint’s description of the business relationship between Mr. West and Tidal, are sufficient to nudge this claim across the line from conceivable to plausible,” wrote Woods.
Last year in a motion to dismiss, West argued that his “never never never” statement was technically true, since The Life of Pablo was “updated and remixed numerous times, with different vocals, lyrics, and arrangements” since its initial release and the only place to get hear that original version was on Tidal. Woods responded to this assertion, saying, “Mr. West’s argument is tenuous, and certainly does not pass muster in the context of a motion to dismiss.”
The judge did, however, throw out parts of the lawsuit claiming that West and Tidal violated New York state law since Baker-Rhett’s transaction with the streaming service did not take place in New York. Woods also dismissed claims based on Tidal’s tweet about the album’s exclusivity and claims that the streaming service falsely concealed plans about the album’s limited exclusivity from fans.
In accordance with the judge’s ruling, Baker-Rhett’s attorney Jay Edelson told Pitchfork they would amend their pleadings and would likely be bringing “a bunch of state-by-state class actions.”
Jay-Z in other new legal action surrounding Tidal, Jay-Z has filed suit against his lawyers for allegedly overcharging him in the purchase of the streaming service.
According to The Blast, the rapper was sued by two Swedish law firms who each claimed that Jay-Z’s S. Carter Enterprises only paid part of what was owed.
One firm, Roschier, claims they are owed $294,000 while another, SEB, says they are still owed $304,383.
According to court documents obtained by The Blast, Jay-Z claims the firms each “performed certain services for which they have been paid yet seek additional compensation.” He also alleges that any money they say they are owed came from their “own culpable conduct in over billing” him.
Jay-Z also argues that the lawsuit should be tossed because they did not “perform under the contracts they now seek to enforce.”
S. Carter Enterprises is seeking to have the suit dismissed entirely.
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