Rapper Lil Wayne’s record label, Cash Money Records, is suing streaming service Tidal over a new mixtape that the streaming service released for free.
Cash Money has filed a $50 million lawsuit against Tidal, the streaming service created by Jay-Z, because the label claims that their contract with Lil Wayne prevents him from licensing his music without their permission, according to NME. Tidal exclusively released the rapper’s Free Weezy Album in early July, which Cash Money is claiming as an illegal move. Lil Wayne has been signed to Cash Money since 1996, and the record company claims exclusive rights to the music he makes.
Tidal has allegedly defended itself by saying that it had permission from the rapper to stream the album exclusively, while Lil Wayne would get partial ownership of Tidal in return. Lil Wayne has been trying unsuccessfully to split from his longtime label for a while. Birdman, one of the Cash Money label bosses, and his protege Young Thug were recently named in the indictment for a shooting on Lil Wayne’s tour bus. Jimmy Carlton Winfrey, an associate of Birdman and Young Thug’s, was indicted for the shooting, which happened in April. It also came to light in the spring of 2015 that one of Lil Wayne’s bus drivers from his summer 2014 tour was suing him for alleged false imprisonment and emotional distress.
Tidal has also had its share of controversy surrounding it. Several artists, including Mumford & Sons, accused the streaming service of only including artists who are already wealthy and not boosting lesser-known acts. It eventually was revealed that Tidal actually only pays its artists 2.5 percent more than the industry standard for streaming royalties, though they advertised it as being much more beneficial to artists than streaming services like Spotify and Pandora. Two CEOs, Andy Chen and Peter Tonstad, have left Tidal since it launched, and most recently, Tidal has announced lower pricing for family plans, following in the footsteps of the even newer streaming service, Apple Music. One silver lining for Tidal is that Prince has removed his catalog from all of the other streaming services.