Company denies any wrongdoing.
In a twist of irony, Tidal, the music streaming service owned by Jay-Z and touting its pro-music artist model, is now being sued for not paying its artists.
Over the weekend, Yesh Music Publishing and John Emanuele (of the duo American Dollar) filed a lawsuit against Tidal for $5 million. The lawsuit claims that Tidal licensed at least 118 songs by American Dollar without the group’s permission and hasn’t paid the royalties it owes for streaming the songs. The complaint also says Tidal is “deliberately miscalculating” its per-stream royalty rates and failing to send reports to the American Dollar about streams of their songs.
When Jay-Z first introduced Tidal, he touted the service as being more pro-music artists than any other by not offering a free, ad-supported tier, and making sure artists are reaping the monetary rewards of their music.
When reached for comment, Tidal told Fortune via email that the claims are without merit:
In 2012, a federal judge ruled against the music duo in a lawsuit against Lakewood Church for using its music past the contract’s expiration date.
Tidal is also no stranger to business challenges. Since its debut more than a year ago, the company has changed CEOs three times and has faced a myriad of criticism over its ultra-exclusive paid streaming service.