The relationship between Tidal and Kanye West, one of the streaming service's original artist-owners, is seemingly coming to an end. According to various reports, which Engadget confirmed independently, 'Ye has decided to terminate his exclusive streaming deal with the company, claiming it owes him more than $3 million dollars. Most of that sum was allegedly supposed to be a bonus for him bringing in 1.5 million new subscribers with the release of his last album, The Life of Pablo, in 2016. Tidal is shutting down Kanye's claims and, per TMZ, doesn't seem to be too concerned with his threat to quit since he's still under contract. It's also been reported that, if he were to jump ship and join another streaming service, Tidal's prepared to take legal action.
Either way, it's safe to say Tidal can't afford to lose its relationship with Kanye. The company's burned through three CEOs since Jay-Z took over two years ago, and breaking up with one of the biggest artists in the world would only add to its ongoing struggles -- especially when its success depends heavily on exclusive content. Sure, Kanye probably won't make or break Tidal, but there's no denying the clout he wields. When his The Life of Pablo album was released as a Tidal-exclusive last year, it hit 250 million streams in its first 10 days, and it was partially responsible for bringing the music service to the 3-million subscriber mark.