On the same week Tidal celebrated surpassing three million subscribers and turning one years old, current owner Jay-Z served its former owners legal papers for lying about Tidal’s business specifics when the company was purchased. According to the King of Roc Nation and his attorneys, Tidal’s former owners, Scandinavian company Aspiro AB, were dishonest about the subscriber numbers presented to Jay-Z during the $56 million transaction. Jay-Z claims that Aspiro AB, in a letter to Jay-Z, had presented Tidal as a service with half a million subscribers. Yet, after Jay-Z took control of Tidal, an audit showed the reality was well below that number. Moreover, investigations done by Tidal’s holding company, Panther, allegedly revealed that there were systematic errors in the way Aspiro had been calculating its subscription numbers over a four year period, that Aspiro had been understating its costs, and that Aspiro had misrepresented many publishing contracts that do not exist.
Reps from the opposition have responded by noting that, because Aspiro was a public company when the purchase occurred, Tidal’s finances were public record and easily discoverable at the time. While this action has not yet evolved into a lawsuit, the legal papers are notice to Tidal’s former owners that it is a strong option being considered by Jay-Z’s team moving forward. Trying not to draw attention away from its important three-million-subscriber milestone, Tidal released a public statement saying, “While we cannot share further comment during active legal proceedings, we’re proud of our success and remain focused on delivering the best experience for artists and fans.”
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Jennifer Marr is an Entertainment and Sports Highlight Contributor for the Harvard Journal of Sports and Entertainment Law and a current first year student at Harvard Law School (Class of 2018).