Jay Z's music streaming company Tidal sued for $5M for not paying royalties

By Marilyn Malara  |  Updated March 1, 2016 at 2:59 PM
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NEW YORK, March 1 (UPI) -- Tidal, the streaming service owned by Jay Z that's been championed by recording artists for paying fair royalties, is now facing a $5 million lawsuit for under-paying royalties and for copyright infringement.

According to documents from a New York district court, Yesh Music and John Emanuele from the band The American Dollar are alleging in a class action suit that Tidal failed to obtain proper licenses for 270 songs listed on the site.

The plaintiffs claim that Tidal also deliberately cut the count of the number of times songs were streamed by "tens of millions," thus decreasing the royalties due.

"Tidal is up to date on all royalties for the rights to the music stated in Yesh Music LLC and John Emanuel's claim," the company said in a statement, "and they are misinformed as to who, if anyone, owes royalty payments to them."

The statement also said that the "the entire catalogue in question" was "streamed fewer than 13,000 times on Tidal and its predecessor over the past year."

Tidal was launched in 2014 by a Swedish-Norwegian company called Aspiro. Jay Z bought Aspiro in March of 2015 for $56 million.

It was reported today that the company has fired both its CFO and COO over a dispute over how Tidal shares its streaming data. Tidal said it is moving its operations and accounting departments from Oslo to New York, where Jay Z has an office.

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