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Home / News / Jay Z preparing legal battle over Tidal sale, claiming falsified subscriber numbers

Jay Z preparing legal battle over Tidal sale, claiming falsified subscriber numbers

Also, it looks like Kanye's album will release everywhere else after all

Jay Z bought streaming service Tidal last year alongside a collective of other musicians and artists, helping to elevate its presence in the modern music market – but it’s been slow-going so far.

Recently, the service reported some 3 million subscribers, a number potentially inflated by free trials started after Kanye West’s latest album debuted on the service. That compares to Spotify‘s 30 million paying members, and Apple Music‘s 11 million so far.

And Jay Z believes something is fishy about last year’s purchase. Yesterday, the rapper sent a letter to the previous owners, Norwegian media company Schibsted ASA, claiming that they inflated subscriber numbers prior to the purchase.

Jay Z says that their own audit revealed lower tallies than the 540,000 subscribers reported by the previous owner, and that they will file legal action to presumably try and recoup some of the US$56 million (about £39 million) sale price. Naturally, the previous owners don’t see it the same way.

"We disagree with the accusations in the letter and any potential claims," said Schibsted spokesman Anders Rikter to Bloomberg. "We would like to point out that the company was listed on the stock exchange with everything that entails regarding transparent financial reporting."

In any case, this drama may play out in a courtroom in time. Curiously, that Kanye West album, The Life of Pablo – which West said would never ever appear on Apple Music or any other streaming service but Tidal – will reportedly hit all other major services today. It might be coincidental, but the timing can’t help but suggest that Tidal isn’t the sure thing that its backers hoped it would be.

[Sources: Bloomberg, The Verge]

Profile image of Andrew Hayward Andrew Hayward Freelance Writer


Andrew writes features, news stories, reviews, and other pieces, often when the UK home team is off-duty or asleep. I'm based in Chicago with my lovely wife, amazing son, and silly cats, and my writing about games, gadgets, esports, apps, and plenty more has appeared in more than 75 publications since 2006.

Areas of expertise

Video games, gadgets, apps, smart home