Class action lawsuit attacks Tidal over 'Life of Pablo' exclusivity

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A lawsuit launched Monday accuses Tidal — along with rapper Kanye West, and Jay Z's Carter Enterprises — of intentionally misleading people about West's album "The Life of Pablo," which was initially marketed as an exclusive on the streaming service.

The firm behind the suit, Edelson PC, is pursuing the matter as a class action case, arguing that Tidal made the promise solely to save its business, by both harvesting personal data — such as credit card information — and causing a spike in traffic and subscribers. Within 10 days, Tidal subscriber figures rocketed from 1 million to 2.5 million, Edelson claims.

Tidal itself has said that "The Life of Pablo" was streamed over 250 million times in its first week.

The case was filed through a U.S. District Court in San Francisco, the Associated Press said, and suggests that Tidal may have made as much as $84 million from misleading claims.

The crux of the suit appears to be a February Twitter comment by West, one of Tidal's owners, in which he said that "Life of Pablo" would "never never never be on Apple," and would in fact stay a Tidal exclusive. By April 1, the entire album was available on Apple Music and Spotify, complete with updated tracks.

Exclusives are now one of the primary competitive weapons in music streaming, employed not just by Tidal but by Apple and Spotify. Apple, for instance, has used Taylor Swift's album 1989 to help lock in listeners.


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