[Updated] Tidal and Jay Z Face $5 Million Class Action Lawsuit for Not Paying Royalties to Artists


Do you remember when Jay Z launched Tidal last year and some of our favorite artists got together for a press conference and took turns signing a declaration?

The entire purpose of the 15 minute press conference was to explain to people that by using Tidal vs. competing streaming services, Tidal would give artists higher royalty payments  and help foster a better relationship with artists and the music community.

Well, now Jay Z and Tidal are facing a class action lawsuit by Yesh Music, LLC and John Emanuele? from the band the American Dollar for not paying them royalties at all.

According to the lawsuit (via the Jasmine Brand), Tidal streamed 116 of the band’s copyrighted songs without paying back any royalty payments in the process. Not only that, but the suit also claims Tidal used faulty numbers to make payments to artists and may have undercut the money they owed to artists by as much as 35 percent — since they don’t provide streaming stats to the public or artists themselves.

To be honest — after all of the confusion surrounding Rihanna’s initial ‘Anti’ streaming/sales numbers via Tidal, this lawsuit might actually be on to something.

In recent weeks, it’s been reported that both Spotify and Samsung have been in talks to buy Tidal from Jay Z.

Update: A representative for Tidal reached out to Mashable earlier today.

In a statement to Mashable on Monday, a representative for Tidal said the company is “up to date on all royalties” for Emanuele’s music, and said they have removed all music from Yesh Music, LLC, and John Emanuele. “They are misinformed as to who, if anyone, owes royalty payments to them,” the statement reads. “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 statement pointed out that the American Dollar’s entire catalogue “streamed fewer than 13,000 times” 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.”


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