Crime

Tidal Accused Of Suppressing Payments to Artists; Faces Criminal Probes

By HHL JT

 More bad news for Tidal.

A week after Norwegian newspaper Dagens Næringsliv accused JAY-Z's streaming company of massively inflating the streaming totals for Beyonce's Lemonade and Kanye West's The Life Of Pablo, they've issued another report accusing Tidal of suppressing payments to artists.

On Monday, a team of DN journalists published a trio of follow-up stories. In one of those reports, DN purports to show that in the past year, Tidal has lowered payments to labels from 62.5 percent to 55 percent, without renegotiating terms. (The company has, since launching, billed itself as the streaming platform that pays the most to creators; DN says that a 55 percent payout puts Tidal on equal footing with Spotify and Apple Music's terms.) Daniel Nordgård, the chair of GramArt, the Norwegian musicians' association, called the situation "a complete breach of trust," writes NPR.

DN has been basing their reports on a hard drive containing internal Tidal play data. Tidal's lawyers have suggested the drive was stolen and the data manipulated.

They may have to use that defense in court, as several Scandinavian organizations are now pursuing charges against Tidal.

TONO, the Norwegian collection society for composers, lyricists and music publishers, has filed a report with Okokrim, Norway's prosecuting and police authority that is charged with fighting economic and environmental crime. Koda, Tono's sister organization in Denmark, announced on Monday that it is demanding an independent audit of Tidal's numbers. GramArt, the professional musicians' association in Norway, also demanded an audit of Tidal's data and says that if payouts have been withheld, it will be seeking money from Tidal on behalf of its members.

Before JAY-Z bought Tidal it was a Norwegian company and its tech is still based in the Scandinavian country.

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