Tidal is reportedly months behind on royalty payments to labels

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

A new report in Dagens Næringsliv says that streaming service Tidal is months behind on payments to labels.

In the report, the newspaper says that multiple sources have divulged that Tidal is “behind with payments directly to the three major international record companies.” Backing this claim up are two executives from a label and its Sony-owned distributor who say they have not seen royalty payments in over six months.

According to a translation by Music Business Worldwide, Sveinung Rindal, CEO of distribution company Phonofile (a Sony subsidiary), told the Norwegian paper, “It is correct that there are delays in payments from Tidal,” while Frithjof Boye Hungnes, CEO of Propeller Recordings, confirmed, “We have not been paid since October ... People are talking about withdrawing [their music from Tidal]; I think there is a pretty upset mood.”

Last December, a separate report from the same newspaper said that Tidal was running out of money, suggesting that it only had about six months of working capital left. In a statement to The Verge, a Tidal spokesperson said, “We have experienced negative stories about Tidal since its inception and we have done nothing but grow the business each year.”


Time to call it a failure and move on

Time to put all that music on Spotify. Hopefully.

Time for Spotify to get a lossless option. Hopefully.

They would if enough people wanted it.

Honestly what would it hurt to offer it? People weren’t clamoring for Netflix to offer 4k but they did it anyway.

Who knows. I just know there’s probably even less people who want lossless from spotify compared to how many wanted 4k from Netflix.

Increased storage and bandwidth costs, largely. You’d have to do what Tidal did and charge a premium for lossless and hope that there’s enough consumers who want that plan to justify the costs.

Plus I think when you get down to it most people, globally, don’t have the bandwidth for it, and I would guess that a lopsided amount of Spotify streaming in it’s revenue heavy markets are mobile streaming.

It would take a lot of time and money to improve the infrastructure methinks.

  • A lot more potential bandwidth overhead for HiFi streamers means a potentially more pricey enterprise service package from ISPs
  • If the tracks were not originally saved in a lossless format they would have to be re-uploaded to Spotify data servers
  • Update web, desktop, and mobile apps across all platforms

Despite my answer, I really want Spotify to take the plunge and delve into the niche HiFi market.

Why are you guys completely ignoring the very serious report, by the same publication, which indicated that Tidal has manipulated the number of streamings for the latest albums by Kanye West and Beyonce? It’s all over the place, but you don’t even report it in this article, and instead simply link to a report in December. What’s going on?

Going to look into this, that’s a horrible thing to do if true.

The Verge has reported on it. Look back to January 20th.

Nothing on Jan. 20th about Tidal (https://www.theverge.com/search?order=date&page=2&q=tidal), and if The Verge had reported about it, it wouldn’t have caused such uproar when it got published just a week or so ago…

That’s because they reported on it over a year ago, in January of 2017.


This is different. One thing is inflating the number of total subscribers, and a different one is inflating the number of total playbacks of two specific albums, by two specific artists. The Verge hasn’t reported on that, and it’s ignored in this article, even though it’s referenced in the first paragraph of one of the referenced used in it.

  • DN wrote Wednesday May 9th that Beyoncé and Kanye Wests numbers on the streaming service have been manipulated. Tidal denies this.
  • May 10th the artist organization Gramart demanded an investigation to see if Tidal owe Norwegian artists money, they want the money refunded.
  • May 11th an organization representing record labels told IFPI they’ll scour through the Norwegian hit lists, especially Beyoncés numbers.
  • May 11th several artists pull their music from Tidal.
  • May 14th Tidal was reported to the police by Tono, who manage Norwegian songwriters’ and composers’ copyrights
  • May 14th the Danish copyright organization Koda demanded an investigation of Tidal’s numbers, something the organization has contractual rights to.
  • May 15th several record labels confirmed they haven’t gotten any Tidal-money since fall 2017.

You know what’s sad? They’d get those streaming numbers from being available on other services lol.

Fudging numbers is nothing new for Tidal. It reported inflated subscriber numbers both before and after Jay Z bought it. This company has been on a slow slide into failure for years.

The new allegations by Dagens Næringsliv are not about inflating the number of subscribers, are about inflating the number of playbacks of The Life of Pablo, and Lemonade, by Kanye West and Beyonce, respectively. This would’ve had an impact on how much money they received in royalties vs other artists on the platform. It’s different to just inflating the number of total subscribers, which is a figure more important for investors.

So basically Tidal, which is supposed to be for the artists, actually comes out as worse than Spotify and Apple music for artists. Also, they have to lie about subscriber count because it’s too low and because it’s too low, they have to lie about streaming numbers too.

I could swear I saw a Verge article about this very thing a few days ago. It was either here or on Ars since those are my 2 main sources of reading.

The Verge reported on that sometime in the last month or so. I remember reading that article.

If it reported, why can’t I find it? Can you please post the link here?

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