The “artist friendly” streaming service Tidal has run into difficulties after allegedly failing to pay around $5 million in overdue royalties.
Since the music service relaunched almost one year ago, it promised to take a more artist-centric approach by paying a fair share of revenue to every artist that signed up.
The royalties were, as Jay Z bragged, higher than any other streaming platform available.
Over the weekend, a class action lawsuit was filed by Yesh Music Publishing and John Emanuele (of American Dollar), seeking to prove that the artist friendly claim was just lip service.
The lawsuit, seeking $5 million in unpaid royalties and copyright infringement damages, claims Tidal licenses 118 of American Dollar’s songs without permission and has not yet paid royalties for the streams.
In a statement to Vulture, Tidal claims Yesh Music and Emanuele are misinformed about who owed royalties. Tidal has now removed American Dollar’s music from its service.
The firm issued a statement as follows: “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”.
Since launch, the service has tried to stand apart from Spotify and Apple Music as a more artist friendly alternative. But the confusion surrounding who Tidal is paying and might owe money to makes it seem rather less friendly.
Larry Banks is a keen follower of technology and finance. He has worked for a variety of online publications, writing about a diverse range of topics including mobile networks, patents, and Internet video delivery technologies.