In what seems like déjà vu, the Jay-Z owned music streaming service Tidal has been called out once more by the Norwegian publication Dagens Nœringsliv, not for manipulation this time, but for being behind on royalty payments to three different major international record companies.
Various businesses and individual artists in Norway have supported the claim, saying that the report was accurate. “It is correct that there are delays in payments from Tidal,” said Sveinung Rindal, the CEO of music distributor Phonofile (which is backed by Sony).
Frithjof Boye Hungnes, the CEO of independent record label Propeller Recordings, added on, claiming that it has been awhile since Tidal has sent a scheduled monthly royalty payment. “We have not been paid since October,” he told Dagens Næringsliv. He added that some companies were discussing pulling their music off Tidal entirely. Bjørn Gunnar Sando–drummer and manager of Hellbillies–and “Ravi” Johansen, both Norwegian artists, allege that they also have not been paid in months.
Just a week ago, the same Dagens Nœringsliv had accused Tidal of manipulated streaming numbers for its two biggest ever album releases – Beyoncé’s Lemonade and Kanye West’s The Life Of Pablo – to the tune of hundreds of millions of plays. At the time, Tidal had characterized the publication of being slanderous.
“This is a smear campaign from a publication that once referred to our employee as an ‘Israeli Intelligence officer’ and our owner as a ‘crack dealer,'” a rep said after the stats manipulation claims were made. “We expect nothing less from them than this ridiculous story, lies, and falsehoods. The information was stolen and manipulated and we will fight these claims vigorously.”
And two days ago, DN also accused Tidal of reducing payments to artists from 62.5 percent to 55 percent, without consulting any rights-holders. The streaming platform had marketed as the only one to pay artists their fair share, yet 55 percent is the going rate for Spotify and Apple Music as well.
Tidal has yet to respond to these new allegations.
Photo Credit: Sharon Alagna