Business News Digital Labels & Publishers Legal

Cash Money sues Tidal over Lil Wayne exclusive

By | Published on Friday 17 July 2015

Lil Wayne

Having signed on as one of Tidal’s celebrity backers last month, earlier this month – when all of us here in the UK were busy celebrating Good Riddance Day – Lil Wayne pushed a new album onto the much maligned streaming platform as a very special Independence Day treat.

The record was also a statement of independence on the rapper’s part, in that he put out the new material without the involvement of Cash Money, the label Wayne has been falling out with in quite spectacular style in recent times, he having sued the company back in January. And perhaps unsurprisingly, the Universal-allied record company ain’t impressed with the Tidal release.

The artist/label dispute has further delayed the release of Wayne’s long-awaited new record ‘Tha Carter V’. To make up for the delay on that LP, the rapper put out a second edition of his ‘Sorry 4 The Wait’ mixtape earlier this year, and then promised another stop-gap release to be called the ‘Free Weezy Album’. And it’s that which emerged on Tidal this month.

Tidal claims that it checked all of Wayne’s legals with Cash Money and that there are no clauses that stop him from giving the ‘FWA’ album to the streaming firm. But Cash Money does not concur, and has now gone legal claiming that Wayne isn’t allowed to licence out new recordings until he’s fulfilled his contractual obligations to the label.

According to TMZ, Cash Money says Tidal’s exclusivity deal with Wayne was “a desperate and illegal attempt to save their struggling streaming service”. The litigation adds that the mixed reviews ‘FWA’ has garnered – the lawsuit says “tepid” – could impact on future sales of ‘Tha Carter V’, assuming it eventually gets released. All in all, the label is seeking a neat $50 million in damages. Good times.

Tidal is yet to comment. Though when it does, I bet it’ll be in super high quality sound, the kind of legal response Neil Young would approve of.