Kanye West Officially Ends Partnership With Tidal, Terminates Exclusivity Rights

This week, Tidal has been on the come-up after the anticipated release of JAY-Z’s exclusive Tidal-only album 4:44. JAY-Z was able to finesse a certified platinum plaque just four days following the release of the album, thanks in part to a lucrative deal with partner Sprint. But there is rarely sunshine without rain. And over the holiday weekend, following 4:44’s release, Kanye West was rumored to be parting ways with the exclusive contract he had with the subscription-based streaming service.

Kanye West and JAY-Z have had an increasingly tumultuous friendship over the recent years, despite the two frequent collaborators’ long relationship. Along with features and their acclaimed joint album Watch the Throne, West was also on board with the start of Tidal, even being one of the initial 16 artist/owners taking part in breaking ground for the platform.

West and Hov had been publicly falling out a lot in recent years, notably since West got with reality TV star Kim Kardashian. Fans’ radars started to really go off when West and Kardashian married and JAY and wife Beyonce were nowhere to be found at the nuptials despite being invited. Paparazzi cameras spotted the pair riding bikes that day during the couple’s ceremony.

More recently, Kardashian was involved in a robbery and West had a meltdown publically at a concert of his where he diminished JAY’s efforts to reach out by saying, “Come to my house bruh.” He also revealed to concertgoers that their kids had yet to play together. At another show, the rapper pleaded to JAY once more, “Call me bruh. Call me.”

JAY seemingly had no response, but spit bars for days that echoed subliminal message to Ye, like, “You walkin’ around like you invincible, you dropped outta school, you lost your principles/I know people backstab you, I felt bad too…”

The 4:44 lyrics aimed at him were perhaps the last straws for West in regards to salvaging his relationship with his idol. West breaking his contract is a move that will mean his music no longer exclusively streams via Tidal and can be accessed on other music streaming platforms, like Apple Music, Spotify, and the like.

According to TMZ, West claimed that Tidal and JAY owed him “more than $3 million” after his last album The Life of Pablo reportedly “resulted in 1.5 million new subscribers to Tidal, for which he was supposed to get a bonus but the company hasn’t paid.” It was also said that Tidal didn’t compensate him for music videos appearing exclusively on the platform.

Per Billboard, Tidal’s position is that West failed to deliver videos he was required by contract to do and that he has yet to act on that agreement. No lawsuits have been filed but it appears both sides’ lawyers are engaged in the dispute and ramping up for what would seem an inevitable legal showdown between the superstar rapper and the streaming service that has yet to catch on widely with consumers.

Neither side has an official comment regarding the matter at this time.

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Sheriden Chanel is a twenty-something writer, Beyoncé enthusiast, and lover of all things visual art. Keep up with her and her musings on social via @indiebyline.