Jay Z unleashes ‘giant lawsuit’ against former Tidal owners

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Thought Tidal couldn’t get any more controversial? You were wrong.

[UPDATE]: A spokesperson from Tidal has confirmed the news to MBW. They said: “We are excited that one year after TIDAL launched, we have surpassed 3 million subscribers globally.

“The growth in our subscriber numbers has been even more phenomenal than we’ve previously shared. It became clear after taking control of TIDAL and conducting our own audit that the total number of subscribers was actually well below the 540,000 reported to us by the prior owners.

“As a result, we have now served legal notice to parties involved in the sale. While we cannot share further comment during active legal proceedings, we’re proud of our success and remain focused on delivering the best experience for artists and fans.

Jay Z is preparing what the Nordic business press is calling a ‘giant lawsuit’ against the former owners of streaming service Tidal – and trying to claim back a sum in the ‘region of 100 million’.

The rapper and business mogul has written to several of the former major shareholders in Tidal/WiMP owner Aspiro, accusing them of exaggerating how many subscribers the service has when his finance vehicle, Project Panther Bidco, bought the company at the start of last year.

If, as expected, that 100 million estimate is in Norwegian Krone, it would amount to around $15m.

Jay Z bought Tidal and parent company Aspiro for 464m Swedish Krone ($57m) in March last year.

According to Swedish news service BreakIt – quoting an article in Norwegian title Dagens Næringsliv (“Today’s Business”) – Aspiro’s former major shareholders, including Schibsted and Verdane, have been contacted by reps for Tidal.

“A publicly traded company was acquired, which means transparency of financial reporting was required.”

Schibsted spokesperson

Jay Z reportedly claims that the figure his team were given for worldwide subscribers of the company in January 2015 – 530,000 – was misleading.

In addition, he claims that Wimp’s business was in much worse condition than what was indicated in the statements he received at the time.

Perhaps that might partly explain why Jay Z told Billboard at the time of the sale that he would ensure fair artist payments “even if it means less profit for our bottom line” – having bought a company which posted a $10m loss In 2014.

Schibsted Communications Manager Anders Rikter told told Dagens Næringsliv that the company was “unsympathetic” to Jay Z’s letter.

He then told BreakIt [translated]:  “We want to point out that it was a publicly traded company that was acquired, [which means] transparency of financial reporting [was required]. Otherwise we have no comments.”

Tidal this week announced that it had reached 3m subscribers worldwide, while making the questionable claim that Kanye West’s The Life Of Pablo had been streamed 250m times its service in its first ten days.

Considering that Justin Bieber’s Purpose recently broke Spotify records with 205 million global streams in its opening week, across that service’s some-100m users, the Kanye figure certainly seems high.Music Business Worldwide

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  • Regina Phalange

    JayZ SWORE up and down that Tidal was doing well. So, then… what’s this?

  • Chris Di Bernardo

    The number of streams for Life of Pablo seems high, but what if all 3M (IF that’s not an inflated number) Tidal users are also 3M Kanye West Fans?

    • Strawberrycake

      All 3m users would have had to stream it over 85 times, in 10 days.
      That would break down to 8.5 times a day for 10 full days. Ridiculous.