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Kanye West Reportedly Leaves Tidal (Over Money, Not Jay Z’s New Album)

Kanye West and Jay Z in happier times, at the Tidal launch event in 2015.

Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Roc Nation

Kanye West has decided to leave Jay Z’s premium streaming service Tidal over a financial dispute, TMZ reports. West’s lawyer reportedly notified Tidal in writing a month ago that they believed Tidal was in breach of its contract with the mercurial rapper and therefore considered his contract terminated. After two weeks of negotiations failed, West’s team reiterated its position that he was no longer under contract with Tidal, Tidal reiterated their position that he was, and now their partnership has reportedly gone sailing off a waterfall without so much as a barrel. Money squabbles quickly become Byzantine once lawyers are involved, but here are the items in dispute so far, totaling more than $3 million:

  • According to West, Tidal was supposed to reimburse him for the cost of making music videos for his album The Life of Pablo but did not.
  • According to Tidal, West was supposed to deliver more music videos to promote the album but did not.
  • According to West, Tidal was supposed to pay him a bonus for the 1.5 million new Tidal subscribers who joined the service while The Life of Pablo was a Tidal exclusive but did not.

Not at issue: the Kanye-slamming lyrics in Jay-Z’s new album 4:44, which West didn’t know about until it was released. Neither party seems to be disputing that they owe each other money and/or music videos, but both are maintaining the position that the other party has to meet his end of the bargain first. Tidal is threatening to sue West if he signs with another streaming service, West is threatening to countersue, and in all the hubbub, and everyone involved risks losing sight of the big picture: Do we really want more music videos like “Famous?” Taylor Swift, start drafting your amicus brief now.