The Tidal dream may be over already. Jay Z's music-streaming has been accused of not paying royalties and infringing artist copyright, in a legal document filed on 27 February. Jay Z's company Project Panther Bidco purchased Tidal in the spring of 2015.
The claim and resulting class-action lawsuit filed in New York Federal Court says Tidal (ironically a service that was promoted during its 2015 relaunch as an artist-owned platform standing for "full transparency" as per the Tidal website), has reneged on its promise of 75% of all royalties being paid to artists, while also uploading tracks from independent artists without prior permission.
The defendants, John Emmanuele (of the New York post-rock band American Dollar) and publisher Yesh Music LLC, are seeking $5m (£3.6m, €4.6m) for the unpaid royalties and the alleged upload of a staggering 118 of the band's tracks without the appropriate notice, going as far as to state: "Ironically, when Defendant Carter purchased the Tidal Music Service in 2015, it claimed it would be the first streaming service to pay the artists. Different owner, same game." Ouch, get that dirt off your shoulder Jigga.
The scathing lawsuit has received an instant and decisive response, as Tidal representatives issued a statement to Vulture. Here is the retort in full:
"TIDAL is up to date on all royalties for the rights to the music stated in Yesh Music, LLC and John Emanuele's claim and they are misinformed as to who, if anyone, owes royalty payments to them. As Yesh Music, LLC admits in their claim, TIDAL has the rights to the Master Recordings through its distributor Tunecore and have paid Tunecore in full for such exploitations. Their dispute appears to be over the mechanical licenses, which we are also up to date on payments via Harry Fox Agency our administrator of mechanical royalties.
The main compositions in question were release by The American Dollar and their entire catalogue streamed fewer than 13,000 times on TIDAL and its predecessor over the past year. We have now removed all music associated with Yesh Music, LLC and John Emanuele from the service. This is the first we have heard of this dispute and Yesh Music, LLC should be engaging Harry Fox Agency if they believe they are owed the royalties claimed. They especially should not be naming S Carter Enterprises, LLC, which has nothing to do with Tidal. This claim serves as nothing other than a perfect example of why America needs Tort reform."
This is not the first time Tidal has found itself on the wrong side of the news in recent weeks, as Kanye West's new exclusive-to-the-service album The Life of Pablo being pirated over 500,000 times in the first two days of release.
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