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Tidal accused of missing royalty payments to labels

17 May 2018

In December of previous year, it was reported that the much-hyped streaming service Tidal may only have enough money for 6 more months of operation.

Tidal is struggling to make on-time payments to record labels and music distributors, multiple sources have reportedly told Norwegian newspaper Dagens Næringsliv. The same Norwegian newspaper accused the company of inflating streaming numbers for artists such as Beyoncé and Kanye West, as well as inflating its overall subscriber count. Crucially, says DN, it did so without consulting rights-holders or PROs.

The newspaper claims, according to a translation by Music Business Worldwide, that "three major global record companies" have not received payments.

Businesses and individual artists in Norway said the report was accurate. The paper cites an internal document apparently showing a 55 percent payout, a rate DN says puts Tidal in line with other services such as Spotify and Apple Music. Sony-backed Propeller Recordings CEO Frithjof Boye Hungnes claims the streaming service hasn't paid out royalties in seven months.

He adds: "People are talking about withdrawing [their music from TIDAL]; I think there is a pretty upset mood".

Propellor receives streaming payouts via Phonofile / The Orchard, and it is claimed that these payments should occur monthly.

In addition to the big players, however, indie artists also say they haven't received royalty payments from Tidal in several months.

The last public accounts for TIDAL's parent company, Project Panther Bidco Ltd, show that the firm lost $42.9m in 2016 (see below).

Tidal accused of missing royalty payments to labels