Ian Shank, Staff Writer

Exclusive:  synonyms for the word include limited and restricted. Except when it comes to Kanye West’s new album “The Life of Pablo.” In February, Kanye released his new album on Jay Z’s music streaming service, Tidal. Kanye had declared that the only place to get his new album was on Tidal, and when he told people to sign up to Tidal, people did.  Then in April, Kanye gave “The Life of Pablo” to Spotify, Apple Music, and other digital streaming services, which meant that “The Life of Pablo” was no longer a Tidal exclusive.  On April 18, one fan named Justin Baker-Rhett  filed a lawsuit against Kanye and the streaming company, saying that they tricked customers into signing up for subscriptions under false pretenses. Baker-Rhett wants to turn the current lawsuit into a class action suit with other fans that happened to be misled and signed up for subscriptions. In the era of streaming services, what does “exclusive” really mean? Artists like Taylor Swift have refused to put their music on certain streaming services, and Drake has given exclusive streaming windows for certain services before releasing it into a much bigger audience. Unfortunately, no artist can have complete control over his or her music. For example, Kanye’s new album was illegally pirated more than 500,000 times the day after its release.  Even sites like Spotify and YouTube unintentionally host illegal music since they can’t monitor every single file users upload. So, Kanye, even though there’s no church in the wild, there’s definitely a lawsuit in the wild.