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This article was published on March 1, 2016

‘Artist friendly’ Tidal has just been hit with a class action lawsuit for not paying royalties

‘Artist friendly’ Tidal has just been hit with a class action lawsuit for not paying royalties
Bryan Clark
Story by

Bryan Clark

Former Managing Editor, TNW

Bryan is a freelance journalist. Bryan is a freelance journalist.

It seems the ‘artist friendly’ streaming option, Tidal, has run into a roadblock after failing to pay some $5 million in past-due royalties.

After the relaunch of Tidal nearly a year ago, the service promised to take a more artist-centric focus by paying a fair share of revenue to each artist under the Tidal banner.

The royalties, Jay Z bragged, were higher than any other streaming platform on the market.

Over the weekend, a class-action lawsuit filed by Yesh Music Publishing and John Emanuele (of the duo American Dollar) sought to prove that this artist friendly persona was nothing more than lip service.

The lawsuit, which seeks $5 million in unpaid royalties and copyright infringement damages, claims that Tidal licensed at least 118 of American Dollar’s songs without the duo’s permission and has yet to pay a royalty for any of those streams.

In a statement to Vulture, Tidal claims that Yesh Music and Emanuele are misinformed about who owed them royalties. Tidal has since removed American Dollar’s music from its service.

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 its launch, Tidal has always set out to differentiate itself from the likes of Spotify and Apple Music as the ‘artist friendly’ alternative. But the confusion over who Tidal is actually paying and may owe money to makes it seem decidedly unfriendly.

Tidal Is Being Sued for the One Thing Jay Z Said It Wouldn’t Do: Not Paying Artists [Vulture]