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Tidal accused of delayed label payments

By | Published on Thursday 17 May 2018


Norwegian business newspaper Dagens Naeringsliv is keeping up the pressure on Tidal, with new claims that the streaming service is behind with royalty payments to labels – including all three major labels – in some cases by more than six months.

The paper spoke to a number of indie labels for its latest article on the company, including Propeller Recordings boss Frithjof Boye Hungnes, who said: “We have not been paid since October. The agreement is that we will be paid monthly. People are talking about withdrawing, I think there’s a pretty hostile atmosphere”.

Sveinung Rindal, CEO of digital distributor Phonofile, which works with over 1000 indie labels in the Nordic region, confirmed that the company was experiencing delays in payments from Tidal.

Earlier this month, DN accused Tidal of inflating listening figures for its exclusive albums from Kanye West and Beyonce. Internal data from Tidal obtained by the newspaper corroborated the published listening stats. However, when journalists contacted individual listeners many denied that they had played the albums as much as the service’s data said. Academics asked to analyse the data also concluded that it had been tampered with.

Tidal was bullish in its response, accusing the paper of running a “smear campaign”, and the journalists of manipulating the “stolen” data.

Of course, overstating the popularity of certain albums is nothing new in music. However, due to the way streaming services are licensed, it doesn’t just provide an ego boost and higher prominence for the artist. It would also mean higher royalties for the artist whose figures had been tampered with, and lower payouts for all others on the service.

Norwegian collecting society Tono has already filed a police complaint over the accusations, with other royalty collecting organisations thought to similarly be considering what action to take.

Tidal has not commented on the new complaints of late payments.