Rapper-designer-mogul Kanye West isn’t exactly known for his mild, uncontroversial social media presence. His latest Twitter mishap isn’t a frenetic rant or a plea for million-dollar donations, though. Just a revelation of blatant hypocrisy.
For context, let’s rewind: West’s newest album, The Life of Pablo, has only been available on Jay Z’s not-so-hot music streaming service Tidal since its release. The exclusivity led to fans complaining about subscription fees and download problems; it also spurred a massive surge in piracy, as many decided to bypass signing up for Tidal and just torrent the album instead. According to TorrentFreak, an unprecedented 500,000 people illegally snatched the album within a single day of its release.
In trademark fashion, West got angry. “Y’all acting like Tidal is wack!” he ranted the other night in a club. “If y’all love me… I need y’all to sign up for Tidal tonight!”
“He’s going to talk to his lawyers and see where he stands,” a source told HollywoodLife two weeks ago, “and hopefully Tidal will partner up with him in any legal proceedings because it was supposed to be an exclusive release.” (The Pirate Bay, for its part, responded that West is “a blithering twat who has an incredible sense of self-importance.”)
Yet yesterday (March 1), West tweeted a photo of his desktop screen, on which Sufjan Stevens’s song “Death With Dignity” is playing in Safari.
Faintly visible in another tab: a Pirate Bay page with a search for something starting with the letters “Xfe”—likely Xfer Records’ $189 synthesizer plug-in Serum. Fellow musician Deadmau5, along with a flood of other people, wasted no time calling West out on it. Deliciously, both artists are founding Tidal “owner-artists.”
Update, 3:40 pm ET:
Again in trademark fashion, Kanye isn’t keeping quiet. He responded to Deadmau5’s jibes with a series of Joycean-style, stream-of-consciousness-like tweets:
But no actual word on the piracy allegations.