SINKING FEELING

Jay Z is suing Tidal’s Norwegian former owners over just how many people were using it

Birthday wishes are in order for Tidal, the music streaming service launched March 30 last year by millionaire rapper and mogul Jay Z (a.k.a. Shawn Carter).

In the one year it’s been around, Tidal has managed to reach three million subscribers—which Spotify reached in 2012, four years after its launch and six months after its US debut. (Apple Music took six months to get to 10 million.)

Tidal has also experienced controversies over exclusives by its artist-owners and its high management turnover: the company is on its third CEO in nine months.

Here’s a new one to add to the mix: according to Music Business Worldwide and several Scandinavian media outlets, Jay Z is now putting together a “giant lawsuit” against Tidal’s former owners. Why? Because they allegedly gave him the wrong idea about the service’s subscriber numbers and financial health when he bought it from them last year.

Tidal used to be WiMP, a streaming service owned by Norwegian tech company Aspiro. When Jay Z snagged it to revamp it as Tidal, the service reportedly had more than 500,000 users. “It became clear after taking control of Tidal and conducting our own audit that the total number of subscribers was actually well below the 540,000 reported to us by the prior owners,” the company said in an emailed statement. “As a result, we have now served legal notice to parties involved in the sale.”

Norwegian news outlets say Aspiro’s former shareholders, who have recently been notified by Tidal of impending legal action, are not swayed by Jay Z’s claims. “We want to point out that it was a publicly traded company that was acquired, [meaning] transparency of financial reporting,” a representative from one shareholder said.

All said, Tidal’s performance isn’t shabby at all considering it does not have a free tier like Spotify to lure people in. But it does have exclusives from the likes of Kanye West.

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