A new lawsuit alleges that Jay Z's music streaming service Tidal intentionally tricked millions of music fans into signing up for the service. The suit asserts that the service has claimed Kanye West's "The Life Of Pablo" album was deceptively announced as a Tidal exclusive in order to lure new customers, but that the collection was soon released on numerous other streaming services, including Spotify and Apple Music.
The accusations are just another in a long list of issues plaguing the troubled streamer, which was announced with much fanfare last April as an artist-owned alternative to other streaming music providers. While initial interest was high based on the participation of numerous music stars such as Madonna, Rihanna, and owner Jay-Z's wife Beyonce, listeners seemed unimpressed with the lack of promised exclusives and appeared generally uninterested in paying double the cost of a regular subscription for the high definition audio touted by Tidal.
Dissension in the company's upper ranks swelled, and Tidal's executive office has remained a revolving door during its short existence, with numerous top staffers leaving, and the company now on its third CEO.
It looked as if things may have been turning around when the company hit pay dirt with its exclusive release of Rihanna's new "Anti" album early this year, and even more so when Kanye West announced his "The Life Of Pablo" CD would be a permanent Tidal exclusive that would "never ever be on Apple." A wave of Kanye West fans clamoring to hear his latest music signed up for the service, most opting for a free trial period the required their credit card info, which would convert their subscription to a paid one unless they cancelled. Some estimates claimed that Kanye's release brought 2 million new subscribers to the service.
Just about a month later however, "The Life Of Pablo" was released to Apple Music, Spotify and other streaming music services. The new lawsuit alleges this was part of an intentional ploy to lure subscribers to Tidal.
"By the time Mr. West changed course and broadly released 'The Life of Pablo,' the deceptive marketing ploy had served its purpose: Tidal's subscriber numbers had tripled, streaming numbers were through the roof, and Tidal had collected the personal information, credit card numbers, and social media information of millions of deceived consumers," the lawsuit states. Although the initial lawsuit was filed on behalf of one specific consumer, it is intended to be converted to a class action filing.