Editor's Note: This article has been updated with a statement from TIDAL's public relations representative.
An independent artist is claiming that Jay Z reneged on his promise about what Tidal would be and mean for musicians: an online music-streaming service that gave artists their full due by paying them fairly and adequately for the rights to stream their music.
According to the Jasmine Brand, a musician by the name of John Emanuele and his company, Yesh Music LLC, is suing Jay Z’s companies that backed Tidal, and the streaming service itself, for $5 million.
The suit claims that copyright infringement took place because Tidal streamed music from independent artists without getting the proper authorization and licensing agreements in place. The suit claims that full royalties weren’t paid to artists as a result.
“Ironically, when defendant Carter purchased the Tidal Music Service in 2015, it claimed it would be the first streaming service to pay the artists. Different owner, same game,” Emanuele reportedly charges.
A rep for TIDAL e-mailed The Root and explained that all royalties for the rights to Emanuele's music were, in fact, paid in full, and that the issue seems to be with Emanuele not knowing which agency he should contact about receiving his royalty check.
"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, TIDAL's public relations representative, Erika Satler, explained.
"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,' Satler said, referencing the agency that administers TIDAL's mechanical royalties.
Sounds like TIDAL has got the receipts needed to discredit this lawsuit.
Diana Ozemebhoya Eromosele is a staff writer at The Root and the founder and executive producer of Lectures to Beats, a Web series that features video interviews with scarily insightful people. Follow Lectures to Beats on Facebook and Twitter.