Now TIDAL is accused of failing to pay record labels on time

It’s been a week since TIDAL was accused of manipulated streaming numbers for its two biggest ever album releases – Beyoncé’s Lemonade and Kanye West’s The Life Of Pablo – to the tune of hundreds of millions of plays.

Norwegian financial newspaper Dagens Næringsliv printed the story after a year-long investigation, backed up by forensic analysis of a hard drive which it said contained ‘billions of rows of [internal TIDAL data]: times and song titles, user IDs and country codes’.

TIDAL later dismissed the story, accusing DN of a “smear campaign” against its company – while commenting that the information which sparked the report was “stolen and manipulated” and that it “will fight these claims vigorously”.

Since then, however, the industry outcry over the matter has grown louder:

  • Norwegian collection society Tono, which represents around 30,000 songwriters, has filed an official police complaint against TIDAL, encouraging the authorities to look into the claims of streaming manipulation;
  • Danish collection society Koda has announced it will be undertaking an independent audit of TIDAL data, following the accusation that millions of dollars were paid to Sony and Universal as a result of the Kanye West and Beyoncé album streams;
  • It’s been reported that TIDAL reduced its recorded music royalty payout in April last year from a 62.5% share of its revenue to 55%. Crucially, says DN, it did so without consulting rights-holders or PROs. The 55% revenue payout share would be in line with new deals agreed by the major music companies and Merlin with Spotify around this time. DN cites TIDAL royalty documents sent to the major labels (pictured main) as evidence, one of which – from July 2017 – you can see in detail through here.

And today, fresh revelations from Dagens Næringsliv suggest that TIDAL is significantly behind with its royalty payments to music industry rights-holders.

In a new report, DN suggests that multiple sources have informed it that TIDAL is “behind with payments directly to the three major international record companies”.

Two prominent Norway-based music businesses, independent label Propellor Records and its distributor, Sony-owned Phonofile, go on record to further comment on the matter.

“It is correct that there are delays in payments from Tidal,” says Sveinung Rindal, CEO of Phonofile / head of The Orchard in Norway.

“We have not been paid since October,” says Frithjof Boye Hungnes, CEO of Propeller Recordings.

Hungnes is also a board member of Fono – which represents Norway’s independent record companies.

“It is correct that there are delays in payments from Tidal.”

Sveinung Rindal, Phonofile / the Orchard

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.

Other parties claiming that TIDAL has not paid them for months include successful local artists Bjørn Gunnar Sando – drummer in and manager of Hellbellies – in addition to “Ravi” Johansen.

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

Last year, however, TIDAL sold a 33% stake in its business to US telco Sprint for approximately $200m.

[The above article is based on MBW’s translation of DN’s latest story.]Music Business Worldwide


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Rihanna, Harry Styles, ‘Twin Peaks,’ Hilary Duff: Graduates mine pop culture for clever cap …

It's that time of the year again — when new graduates collect their diplomas and cards full of cash, and wave goodbye to a stage of their lives. Although the graduation ceremony is a time-honored tradition for decades, this generation's group of grads have a new dress requirement: namely, elaborately personalized mortarboards.

Now, for the old-timers out there — sure, we know back in the day some grads created clever messages out of masking tape on top of their caps. However, these are a generation or two beyond, the more elaborate, the better; and the more clever the pop-culture reference, the best.

This year's crop of caps paid tribute to such musical stars as Rihanna, Beyoncé, and Cardi B:

But not just the ladies were represented. Former One Direction heartthrob Harry Styles and Chance the Rapper made appearances as well!

@chancetherapper aside from your awesome music, you have been an inspiration and role model to me with what you do to help the youth and your people. Here is the final product of my graduation cap for my graduation ceremony! Thank you

— Alan Ordaz (@vlvn7) May 20, 2018

And, hey, there were a few choice song lyrics that allegedly made it out onto the graduation field, too — including at least one that made the whole family happy.

My parents don't know I quoted Drake on my graduation cap bc it said “God's plan” so they just think I'm a good Christian lolll

— NOS (@souled__) May 16, 2018

Meanwhile, some other students decided to pay homage to the various TV series that helped them unwind during stressful finals weeks (or, perhaps, kept them from studying as much as they should!):

Still others decided to dedicate their caps to actors who have made a difference in their lives (and, in the case of Mindy Kaling at least, some actors took notice back).

Yes, we've certainly come a long way from putting our boyfriends'/girlfriends' initials on the board with a few strips of tape.

Here's to all the graduates out there: Congratulations to the class of 2018!

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