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Jay Z, TIDAL Allegedly Not Artist Friendly According to New Lawsuit

by Jon Niles   Feb 29, 2016 13:53 PM EST

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Despite advertising just how artist friendly the streaming music service TIDAL is, a new lawsuit alleges the exact opposite. Jay Z and his Spotify competitor are being sued by music publishing company Yesh Music, LLC and The American Dollar band member John Emanuele for unlawfully streaming the band's tracks, which were all under copyright. If this lawsuit goes to trial, the main selling point of TIDAL would be highly contested.

UPDATE: TIDAL has reached out to Music Times to address this article. Here is an official statement from the company regarding this lawsuit.

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 entire catalogue in question 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.

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According to the suit, the music mogul and his streaming service "failed to serve monthly reports which detail the usage of every song and calculation of royalties," thus causing some clear issues with the parties involved.

"Defendants created its now 25 million track library by dumping all of the music from independent artists into the Tidal Music Service without serving NOIs," the court documents state, according to The Smoking Section. "Independent artists are predominantly impacted by Defendants' systematic infringement."

Aside from these issues, the court documents also detail how TIDAL uses strange accounting practices to, basically, rip off the artists, which, again, is the exact opposite practice that Jay Z, Kanye West, Nicki Minaj, Beyoncé and the other TIDAL partners were saying at the strange press conference last year that announced the new service.

"Defendants deliberately miscalculating the per-stream royalty rates by including millions of streams Defendants do not pay royalties in the calculation," the documents explained. "This diluted the paid per-stream rate for royalty payments by up to 35 percent."

This issue began last year, but Jay and his TIDAL team did not respond to the publishing company and the artist voicing their concerns, according to The Jasmine Brand. Unfortunately, this does not look good for TIDAL.

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