Tidal hit with lawsuit, and fires its CFO and COO

Tidal has had a busy week in the press.

The New York Post reported on Thursday last week that Samsung has restarted talks to acquire the streaming service. Samsung sponsored Rihanna’s latest album and tour. The singer is a partner in Tidal and is signed to Jay Z’s Roc Nation label.

“Samsung is re-engaging; they are working on something really big, and they’re keeping it very quiet in case it leaks,” said a source close to the talks. Samsung said it was company policy not to comment on speculation.

Tidal has not yet responded to Music Week’s request for a comment about the alleged, impending acquisition.

Yesterday it was revealed that Yesh Music LLC and musician John Emanuele had filed a $5 million copyright infringement lawsuit against Jay Z’s company, S. Carter Enterprises, along with two more companies with stakes in Tidal.

Emanuele claims that his band The American Dollar’s music (118 recordings owned by Yesh Music LLC) is available to stream on the service even though permission had not been granted to do so, with no royalties paid yet either.

“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,” said Tidal in a statement.

“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.”

Today Swedish website Breakit reported that its sources had confirmed that COO Chris Hart had been sacked. The reason, speculates Breakit, is a disagreement about what Tidal does with its user and streaming data.

Dagens Næringsliv, a Norwegian newspaper, also confirmed Hart’s departure, adding that COO Nils Juell had also left the company.

The news of the execs leaving follow a familiar trend for the company – as last year also saw a wave of staff departures.

Update: Music Week was provided with the following statment: “Tidal has terminated CFO Chris Hart and COO Nils Juell. As Tidal has grown into a global operation serving 46 countries we have moved our accounting and operations team to New York while our technology team and key support staff remain in Oslo.”

Posted on March 11, 2016 in Uncategorized

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