Kanye Splits From Jay Z’s Music Streaming Service Tidal Over Money Dispute
Artist Kanye West is splitting from Jay Z’s music streaming service, Tidal, over disagreements about money, according to a new report from TMZ.
Kanye has complained that Tidal owes him more than $3 million in bonuses and reimbursement for music videos after he debuted his album, “Life of Pablo,” on the service more than a year ago, TMZ reported, citing unnamed sources.
Jay-Z relaunched Tidal in 2015 as an alternative to Pandora and Spotify. Co-owners with Jay-Z included his friends Madonna and Chris Martin of Coldplay. Backed by A-list artists, Tidal claims to pay more royalties.
West was one of the original artists to buy into Tidal’s mission to fight back against companies like Apple, which was trying to build its own competing service, Business Insider reported. Tidal seeks to lock artists into exclusive releases on the platform:
Rihanna’s release of her album “Anti” skyrocketed the app to No. 16 on the top app charts. Jay Z justreleased his new album “4:44” on Tidal as well.
West, a key player in Tidal, has left the company and Tidal has threatened to sue him, TMZ reported.
Our sources say a month ago Kanye’s lawyer sent a letter to Tidal, saying the company was in breach and the contract was terminated. Over the next two weeks lawyers for both sides tried to resolve the conflict but failed. We’re told two weeks ago Kanye’s lawyer fired off a second letter declaring again the contract was over.
Kanye’s decision to split from Tidal predates the release of Jay Z’s album in which he trashes Kanye, and we’re told Kanye had no advance knowledge of Jay’s lyrics.
West’s “The Life of Pablo” album resulted in 1.5 million new subscribers to Tidal, for which he was supposed to get a bonus but the company hasn’t paid, TMZ reported. West also said Tidal reneged on reimbursing him for music videos.
Tidal’s position is that Kanye didn’t deliver the videos required by the contract. Kanye’s response … I’ll deliver the videos when you pay me what I’m owed.
When West debuted “Life of Pablo” on Tidal in February, he declared total loyalty to Tidal, saying “My album will never never never be on Apple and it will never be for sale. You can only get it on Tidal,” Business Insider reported:
West’s departure would be the latest in a string of high-profile departures from the troubled music service. The company has gone through three different CEOs, including Jeff Toig who departed at the end of May.
Tidal does not make its performance data public on a regular basis, but has been scrutinized since its launch, according to CNBC. The Tidal service claimed to have 3 million active subscribers in 2016, a lot less than the tens of millions that Apple Music and Spotify have.
Sign up for the Moguldom newsletter — the most compelling business news you need to know about reversing inequality in tech, delivered straight to your inbox.