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Now Tidal and Slacker face US class-action royalties lawsuits


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The two class-action songwriter lawsuits against Spotify over US mechanical royalties filed by David Lowery and Melissa Ferrick continue, but as predicted, the net is widening to other streaming services in the US.

Tidal is on the wrong end of a new lawsuit filed by John Emanuele from The American Dollar, and the band’s publishing company Yesh Music.

It follows a similar lawsuit filed against Slacker Radio last week, and once again, mechanical royalties are at the heart of the legal action – albeit not the only issue in dispute.

The lawsuit claims that Tidal did not secure mechanical licences for the band’s catalogue or file a notice-of-intent to license it, although it did have licences for the master recordings via distributor TuneCore. The potential damages if Yesh Music prevails could be between $5m and $20m.

Tidal is hitting back hard against the lawsuit. “Tidal is up to date on all royalties for the rights to the music stated in Yesh Music, LLC and John Emanuele’s claim and they are misinformed as to who, if anyone, owes royalty payments to them,” claimed the company in a statement issued to Billboard.

“Tidal has the rights to the Master Recordings through its distributor TuneCore and have paid TuneCore in full for such exploitations. Their dispute appears to be over the mechanical licenses, which we are also up to date on payments via Harry Fox Agency our administrator of mechanical royalties.”

HFA has also been working for Spotify since that service launched in the US, and is thus at the heart of the previous lawsuits from Lowery and Ferrick.

Tidal claims that The American Dollar’s catalogue was “streamed fewer than 13,000 times” on Tidal and its predecessor WiMP over the last year, and has suggested Yesh Music and Emanuele “should be engaging Harry Fox Agency if they believe they are owed the royalties claimed”.

The lawsuit comes at a potentially-sensitive time for Tidal, amid rumours that it could be acquired.

Stuart Dredge

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