A Kanye West tweet has led to a class action lawsuit. In February, 2016, West tweeted that his album Life of Pablo would be available on Tidal, and “never never never” be available on iTunes. Six week later the album was available on iTunes and Spotify.
Meanwhile, Tidal subscriptions climbed from 1 million to 3 million and that has led to a class-action lawsuit, according to Eriq Gardner at The Hollywood Reporter. Justin Baker-Rhett, who purchased West’s album for $9.99 on Tidal, is suing the service and owner Aspiro. A New York federal judge has allowed the lawsuit to move forward as class action under the claim of fraudulent inducement, according to THR.
Baker-Rhett’s attorneys used the following as an argument for how a single tweet could be used for the class action:
“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.”
Defendants will surely fight it, but regardless, it won’t end the case. The memorandum in support of class certification also highlights some of the questions that will be material as the lawsuit moves forward:
“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 be held liable for West’s statements?”
U.S. District Court Gregory Woods gave the following opinion about West’s argument about his tweet’s innocent intent earlier this year:
“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,” wrote the judge. “After all, Mr. West tweeted that ‘My album will never never never be on Apple. And it will never be for sale’ (emphasis added). 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. 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 statement that his album would never never never be available on Apple Music or for sale was false.”