Tidal Problems: Sony Wants Royalties Paid for Artists’ Music; Exec Says Jay Z Isn’t Majority Owner

Beyoncé and Jay Z
Al Bello/Getty Images

Tidal seems to have 99 problems, and Beyoncé and ownership are one and two. There are those who want to see the music-streaming service fail, and then there are those who praise the ground Jay Z walks on, as well as those who really don’t care either way. But most importantly, there are those who want what’s due to them when it comes to royalties.

According to Bloomberg, Sony and Warner want Tidal to pony up money for the right to stream artists from their labels. And guess who just so happens to be one of Sony’s biggest artists? Yup, you guessed it: Beyoncé, one of Tidal’s “artist owners.” Although the dollar amount Sony is asking for wasn’t mentioned, if it’s not paid, the company has the right to pull its artists’ music from the music-streaming service.


In other Tidal news, this week, people took issue after a photo of the Tidal staff in Norway was posted online. So many white faces, people thought. Why didn’t Jay Z have black employees in the Oslo, Norway, office? Wasn’t he just talking about people supporting black businesses? Well, some people online didn’t think it was such a big deal, because exactly how many black people live in Oslo? Not too many. And also, the employees were there before Jay Z “bought” an already existing company and renamed it Tidal.


And speaking of supporting a black business: One of Tidal’s top executives let the cat out of the bag about just how much ownership Jay Z has in the company. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Vania Schlogel, Tidal’s chief investment officer, stated that Jay Z owns a small percentage of the company.

“The artist owners felt very passionately about the mission upon which Tidal is founded, and so the artists are equal owners in the company,” said Schlogel. “Jay’s capital that has gone in is at very—I would term it—below market interest rate to support the company.”

So what Schlogel is saying is that Jay Z isn’t the majority owner of the company. And now, after Schlogel’s comments, people are taking issue with whether Tidal is technically a “black-owned” company, especially after Jay Z’s rant about people not supporting black businesses. 


In any event, Tidal’s first few months have been interesting, and it has its fair share of fans—and those who love Spotify. 

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