Spotify recently became the subject of a pair of lawsuits related to its failure to pay royalties. According to reports this morning, TIDAL is the latest streaming service to face the same complaint: over the weekend, Yesh Music, LLC and John Emanuele—who plays in the band The American Dollar along with Richard Cupolo—sued Jay Z's platform for $5 million.
The suit alleges that the "plaintiffs are the beneficial rights holders to 118 copyright registrations covering one hundred and forty eight musical recordings which Defendants have reproduced and distributed through the TIDAL Music Service without a license." In addition, the document argues that Emanuele has not been paid royalties. "Ironically," the suit notes, "when Defendant Carter [Jay Z] purchased the TIDAL Music Service in 2015, it claimed it would be the first streaming service to pay the artists. Different owner, same game."
Reached over email, a rep for TIDAL sent the following statement:
"TIDAL is up to date on all royalties for the rights to the music stated in Yesh Music, LLC and John Emanuele’s claim and they are misinformed as to who, if anyone, owes royalty payments to them. 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 main compositions in question were release by The American Dollar and their entire catalogue streamed fewer than 13,000 times on TIDAL and its predecessor 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."
When reached by phone on Monday afternoon, Richard M. Garbarini, the lawyer for the prosecution, confirmed that the suit was real and said that he chose to name Jay Z's company in the suit because "[he] has made comments that he was exercising control over TIDAL. Once you start exercising control you are putting in the field of liability."
Representatives for Yesh Music, and The American Dollar were not immediately available for comment. Read the suit here.