Legendary New York rapper and entrepreneur Shawn “Jay Z” Carter has “99 Problems” and one is his deal with former Tidal owners, Schibsted. Reports have surfaced revealing that the hip-hop mogul and current owner of Tidal is set to sue the floundering music streaming service’s previous owners, Norwegian media group Schibsted, for allegedly luring Jay into a false deal by inflating subscriber numbers in 2015 before he purchased the service for $56 million.
While Tidal’s 2015 unveiling was met with mixed emotions from music fans who questioned Jay’s reported intention of helping musicians get their fair share of pay in the ever-changing streaming landscape where big businesses seem to snatch up every dime, news of the suit came a day after Tidal celebrated its first anniversary and revealed record growth. Tidal now boasts three million subscribers.
The News reports Tidal released a statement sharing that “The growth in our subscriber numbers has been even more phenomenal than we’ve previously shared”; however, “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 … As a result, we have now served legal notice to parties involved in the sale.”
The suit will likely include Swedish private equity group Verdane Capital, a previous co-owner of Aspiro, which Jay later named Tidal. According to reports, Verdane Capital also received notification concerning the suit.
Anders Rikter, Schibsted’s communications manager, shared with The News, “We disagree with the accusations in the letter and any potential claims … We believe the information given by the company Aspiro has been very thorough and open and communicated clearly.”
While Jay’s move may appear to be a sign of Tidal’s inevitable demise, the company continues to expand. According to Vanity Fair, Tidal now has its sights on adding movie-streaming to its list of services, a smart move to meet the needs of its streaming-friendly client-base.