Rapper Kanye West, one of the founding co-owners of Tidal, reportedly has left that music-streaming service in a contract dispute over money.
TMZ.com said Sunday that West, 40, believes he is owed more than $3 million from Tidal, the artist-owned service spearheaded by music mogul Jay-Z and launched in March 2015.
TMZ said West’s attorney had contacted Tidal a month ago alleging the company was in breach of contract, and that negotiations to resolve the issue continued fruitlessly for two weeks. Two weeks ago, West’s lawyer sent a letter formalizing West’s exit.
Neither West, who has closed his Twitter and Instagram accounts, nor Tidal have commented publicly.
According to TMZ, West’s most recent album, “The Life of Pablo,” brought in 1.5 million new subscribers to Tidal, triggering a bonus that has gone unpaid. West also claims Tidal has not paid him for music video sales. Both parties are threatening to file suit against each other.
TMZ later said, citing anonymous sources “with knowledge of the conflict between Kanye and Tidal,” that West is no longer interested in being exclusive to any one streaming service.
The Tidal conflict arose before the release Friday of Jay-Z’s new album “4:44,” in which the track “Kill Jay Z” appears to reference West unflatteringly. West had expressed grievances about Jay-Z during concerts in October and November, including telling audiences that Jay-Z did not visit him in person after West’s wife, reality TV star Kim Kardashian, was robbed at gunpoint in Paris.
Tidal’s February release of “The Life of Pablo” had suffered difficulties. West first had the album for sale as a download from his own official site, and then removed for Tidal exclusivity after some customers had paid for it without receiving it. Tidal gave those consumers free streaming access until a download became available some months afterward.
West had posted on social media that, “My album will never never never be on Apple. And it will never be for sale. You can only get it on Tidal.” When it did appear on other services in late March, a consumer filed a lawsuit alleging deceptive marketing for the purpose of “fraudulently inducing customers to subscribe to Tidal.”