Sources: Jay Z's Tidal Sued By Artist Over Unpaid Royalties
March 2, 2016 at 10:36 AM (PT)
JAY Z started his streaming service TIDAL last year with a promise it would "benefit artists." Now, an artist is suing the company, claiming it owes him unpaid royalties, according to several reports, including CNN MONEY.
The suit was filed in NEW YORK FEDERAL COURT last SATURDAY (FEBRUARY 27th) by JOHN EMANUELE, half of the duo AMERICAN DOLLAR.
TIDAL artists include the likes of KANYE WEST, RIHANNA, ALICIA KEYS, BEYONCE and TAYLOR SWIFT.
The lawsuit charges, "Different owner, same game. Defendants' systematic failure to obtain ... licenses is part of an egregious, calculated, and ongoing campaign of deliberate copyright infringement."
A TIDAL spokesperson insists the service is up to date on all royalty payments it owes to EMANUELE and all other artists and that the suit is "without merit." The service said the songs were streamed very infrequently while on the service and have now been removed. "This claim serves as nothing other than a perfect example of why AMERICA needs tort reform," it said.
The suit charges TIDAL is ripping off independent artists at the expense of more well-known superstars. "Defendants made a calculated business decision to avoid the cost of complying with the law," the suit charges. "Instead, defendants entered into blanket licenses that cover most of the songs in their library, but ignored the 35% made up of independent artists."
The suit claims that EMANUELE holds copyrights on 118 songs, and that TIDAL owes him $150,000 per song, or $17.7 million. the suit seeks class action status on behalf of other artists on TIDAL.
In related news, TIDAL fired its CFO CHRIS HART and COO NILS JUELL, and is shifting its top executive posts to its OSLO, NORWAY, EUROPEAN headquarters. "As TIDAL has grown into a global operation serving 46 countries we have moved our accounting and operations team to NEW YORK while our technology team and key support staff remain in OSLO."