Apple Music rival Tidal accused of late royalty payments, inflating listener numbers

Posted:
in General Discussion
Streaming music service Tidal is facing a raft of allegations about its business practices, including charges of late royalty payments, and artificially inflating the numbers for two of its biggest hits by Beyonce and Kanye West.

beyonce-lemonade


The company is behind in royalties to the three major labels, namely Sony, Warner, and Universal, according to Norwegian publication Dagens Naeringsliv, cited by Music Business Worldwide. The allegation was backed up by two Norwegian businesses, label Propeller Records and its distributor Sony's Phonofile.

The CEO of Propeller, Frithjof Boye Hungnes, in fact claimed that his label hasn't been paid for Tidal streams since October, and that people are talking about pulling their music from the service.

Recently Dagens Naeringsliv also said it uncovered evidence that Tidal boosted the play counts for Beyonce's "Lemonade" album, and West's "The Life of Pablo." The records were brief exclusives, helping to draw in people who might have otherwise turned to Spotify or Apple Music.

The accusation was made following a year-long investigation, with evidence including forensic analysis of a hard drive said to contain raw data from Tidal. The company has charged DN of perpetrating a "smear campaign" using "stolen and manipulated" data.

Nevertheless, Danish royalty collection organization Koda is now conducting an audit of Tidal data, based on Sony and Universal reportedly earning millions from the West and Beyonce albums. A Norwegian collection group, Tono, has filed a police complaint.

Exacerbating the situation even further, Tidal is claimed to have shrunk its royalty payout in April 2017 from 62.5 percent of revenues to 55 percent. Though that would be consistent with rates at Spotify, Tidal is said to have made the change without talking to key people like rights holders.

While Tidal has the backing of famous artists like Jay-Z, its primary owner, the company has struggled to draw in subscribers. Spotify is thoroughly entrenched, having launched in 2008 and become the "default" on-demand service, thanks to its 75 million paid subscribers and even more people on its free ad-based tier.

Apple Music recently topped 50 million subscribers, aided by Apple's cash and deep integration across hardware.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 34
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,404member
    And the culling of the herd begins. Razor thin margins are hard to succeed with. Think about that the next time you want to trash Apple for having large margins and making too much profit. Okay, I’m done for today.
    edited May 16 leavingthebiggtmayneil andersoncornchipradarthekatStrangeDayslollivertechconcjony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 34
    Except that Tidal is the best music streaming service available.  It's the only service that will stream its entire catalogue in lossless data formats, making it the best format for serious audiophiles.  It also has an amazing host of extras -- music videos, advance rights to certain concert tickets, etc.

    I was done with Apple Music years ago when it completely destroyed my (legally) ripped collection of lossless music.  It also corrupted my library of 3,000+ past iTunes purchases -- something Apple has yet to fully fix.  

    I still love Apple products, but I will be damned if I ever try Apple Music again.  And I sure hope Tidal doesn't fold. 
    skingerscgWerksglynhsphericvonbrick
  • Reply 3 of 34
    nunzynunzy Posts: 662member
    Apple should offer free membership to tidal users to put them out once and for all. Apple could afford it.
  • Reply 4 of 34
    revenantrevenant Posts: 477member
    whoops
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 34
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,288member
    Except that Tidal is the best music streaming service available.
    Based on this article it doesn't sound like the artists would agree with that statement. You'd have to qualify your statement to include a very narrow definition of best, and even that's debatable.

    It's the only service that will stream its entire catalogue in lossless data formats, making it the best format for serious audiophiles.
    This statement is always odd. Lossless makes zero reference audio source, the DAC, or speakers. I remember someone converting audiobooks to ALAC and wondering why it was taking so long and why it was taking up so much space. They didn't realize what was happening when their 64kibps(?) audiobook was being converted to ALAC by iTunes.

    Of course, Tidal isn't using 64kibps audio for their music, but if they're converting a store-bought audio CD to a lossless format the chances of it sounding better on an iPhone seems unlikely. If you have some in-depth, independent, blind tests you can point to, as well as info on the source data that would be a better argument than simply stating it's a lossless codec, that would be helpful.

    I was done with Apple Music years ago when it completely destroyed my (legally) ripped collection of lossless music.  It also corrupted my library of 3,000+ past iTunes purchases -- something Apple has yet to fully fix.

    I still love Apple products, but I will be damned if I ever try Apple Music again.  And I sure hope Tidal doesn't fold. 
    1) That may have occurred because of you linking to Apple Music, but that's Apple issue, specifically with a bug(s) in their OS and/or app. That means you should be wary of Apple, in general, not Apple Music.

    2) After that happened did you at least decide to start backing up your data? At some point the user has to take responsibility for not taking precautions. That doesn't mean that Apple wasn't at fault, but it means you also have a personal responsibility. Like if a woman has a stroke while driving and runs off the road onto the sidewalk and hits you. While that's not your fault the car drove up on the sidewalk, if you walking and holding an iPad up to your face watching an episode of The Benny Hill Show on YouTube whilst walking there's a finger to be pointed at you, too.
    edited May 16 StrangeDayslolliverkiltedgreen
  • Reply 6 of 34
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 29,906member
    Except that Tidal is the best music streaming service available.  It's the only service that will stream its entire catalogue in lossless data formats, making it the best format for serious audiophiles.  It also has an amazing host of extras -- music videos, advance rights to certain concert tickets, etc.

    I was done with Apple Music years ago when it completely destroyed my (legally) ripped collection of lossless music.  It also corrupted my library of 3,000+ past iTunes purchases -- something Apple has yet to fully fix.  

    I still love Apple products, but I will be damned if I ever try Apple Music again.  And I sure hope Tidal doesn't fold. 
    You had no backups of your library?
    cornchiplollivertechconcuraharajony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 34
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 1,630member
    What... an 'advertiser' cooks the 'audience' books? No way. :)
    I'm sure this practice is about as old as advertising.
    cornchiplolliver
  • Reply 8 of 34
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 2,159member
    Except that Tidal is the best music streaming service available.  It's the only service that will stream its entire catalogue in lossless data formats, making it the best format for serious audiophiles.  It also has an amazing host of extras -- music videos, advance rights to certain concert tickets, etc.

    I was done with Apple Music years ago when it completely destroyed my (legally) ripped collection of lossless music.  It also corrupted my library of 3,000+ past iTunes purchases -- something Apple has yet to fully fix.  

    I still love Apple products, but I will be damned if I ever try Apple Music again.  And I sure hope Tidal doesn't fold. 
    You had no backups of your library?

    Prediction: if you ever get an answer to this question, it will include some phrase akin to "that isn't the point."
    cornchipSpamSandwichlolliverCesar Battistini Mazierojony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 34
    I was done with Apple Music years ago when it completely destroyed my (legally) ripped collection of lossless music.  It also corrupted my library of 3,000+ past iTunes purchases -- something Apple has yet to fully fix.

    I still love Apple products, but I will be damned if I ever try Apple Music again.  And I sure hope Tidal doesn't fold. 
    1) That may have occurred because of you linking to Apple Music, but that's Apple issue, specifically with a bug(s) in their OS and/or app. That means you should be wary of Apple, in general, not Apple Music.

    2) After that happened did you at least decide to start backing up your data? At some point the user has to take responsibility for not taking precautions. That doesn't mean that Apple wasn't at fault, but it means you also have a personal responsibility. Like if a woman has a stroke while driving and runs off the road onto the sidewalk and hits you. While that's not your fault the car drove up on the sidewalk, if you walking and holding an iPad up to your face watching an episode of The Benny Hill Show on YouTube whilst walking there's a finger to be pointed at you, too.e>
    So you made some decent points. But streaming Tidal from an AppleTV, for example, digitally plugged into a high-end Amp with a high-end DAC does sound wonderful. As for my music files, I did have it backed up. But that isn't the point -- the files are fine, it's everything else that is the problem. Because the iTunes interface has become more draconian over the years, it has hobbled my entire music collection. For example, Apple "doubled" or "tripled" my purchases of about 2,000 songs on iTunes. It never charged me for this, but my Apple-sourced iTunes song history indicates that I made multiple purchases of many songs and albums. The result is that no matter how I arrange my library on iTunes, many, many albums have two and three versions of the identical song. And these files get pushed directly onto all of my apple devices, because the internal iTunes library indicates that I bought multiple versions. This eats up valuable space on my iPhone. It also makes these albums completely unlistenable, unless you want to listen to each song two or three times in repetition. Whenever I call into Apple to try to get it fixed (I have probably tried 3-4 times over the past couple years), I get put on hold for hours, and end up being hung up on or never called back. Additionally, my iTunes library file, which dates back to 2004, became completely corrupted by Apple Music when I unsubscribed. This was, of course, during the initial 90-day period back before Apple had Apple Music functioning well. But at that point, I just gave up on the whole damn thing. Rather than create a brand new library file, I just use Tidal now, and am very happy with it.
    edited May 16 cgWerkscornchipspheric
  • Reply 10 of 34
    Except that Tidal is the best music streaming service available.  It's the only service that will stream its entire catalogue in lossless data formats, making it the best format for serious audiophiles.  It also has an amazing host of extras -- music videos, advance rights to certain concert tickets, etc.
    "Serious audiophiles"  Not to denigrate their appreciation of high-quality sound reproduction, "serious" audiophiles amount to a very, very small segment (dare I say less than 1%?) of the streaming music market.  As a marketing point to the masses, lossless isn't an issue (especially those that buy Amazon or Google smart speakers).

    Apple Music's target market is much, much larger than the "serious" audiophile market.  That's probably why it doesn't provide lossless reproduction.  That shouldn't be construed as a weakness on the part of anybody not offering lossless.
    tmaytechconckiltedgreenjony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 34
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,288member
    I was done with Apple Music years ago when it completely destroyed my (legally) ripped collection of lossless music.  It also corrupted my library of 3,000+ past iTunes purchases -- something Apple has yet to fully fix.

    I still love Apple products, but I will be damned if I ever try Apple Music again.  And I sure hope Tidal doesn't fold. 
    1) That may have occurred because of you linking to Apple Music, but that's Apple issue, specifically with a bug(s) in their OS and/or app. That means you should be wary of Apple, in general, not Apple Music.

    2) After that happened did you at least decide to start backing up your data? At some point the user has to take responsibility for not taking precautions. That doesn't mean that Apple wasn't at fault, but it means you also have a personal responsibility. Like if a woman has a stroke while driving and runs off the road onto the sidewalk and hits you. While that's not your fault the car drove up on the sidewalk, if you walking and holding an iPad up to your face watching an episode of The Benny Hill Show on YouTube whilst walking there's a finger to be pointed at you, too.e>
    So you made some decent points. But streaming Tidal from an AppleTV, for example, digitally plugged into a high-end Amp with a high-end DAC does sound wonderful. As for my music files, I did have it backed up. But that isn't the point -- the files are fine, it's everything else that is the problem. Because the iTunes interface has become more draconian over the years, it has hobbled my entire music collection. For example, Apple "doubled" or "tripled" my purchases of about 2,000 songs on iTunes. It never charged me for this, but my Apple-sourced iTunes song history indicates that I made multiple purchases of many songs and albums. The result is that no matter how I arrange my library on iTunes, many, many albums have two and three versions of the identical song. And these files get pushed directly onto all of my apple devices, because the internal iTunes library indicates that I bought multiple versions. This eats up valuable space on my iPhone. It also makes these albums completely unlistenable, unless you want to listen to each song two or three times in repetition. Whenever I call into Apple to try to get it fixed (I have probably tried 3-4 times over the past couple years), I get put on hold for hours, and end up being hung up on or never called back. Additionally, my iTunes library file, which dates back to 2004, became completely corrupted by Apple Music when I unsubscribed. This was, of course, during the initial 90-day period back before Apple had Apple Music functioning well. But at that point, I just gave up on the whole damn thing. Rather than create a brand new library file, I just use Tidal now, and am very happy with it.
    1) I have no doubt that it sounds amazing though your sound system, but all these services would sound better though your amp and speakers than through how most people listen to music.

    2) Personally, I'm not a fan of Apple Music. I did the 3 month trail late last year right after I got a Series 3 Apple Watch with cellular because Spotify wasn't an option. I didn't try it before that because I didn't like how the interface looked on the iPhone, I like Spotify's apps across platforms, and I already had my playlists. I didn't keep it because I didn't care for it, and yet I couldn't tell you and difference in audio between the services for similar songs.

    Additionally, I'm not a fan of how Apple changed the iOS Music app so that you can't change and rearrange the icon bar and  how half(?) of them are all for Apple Music. I even got to the point that I deleted my entire iTunes music library from iTunes and my iPhone (it's still backed up, though), and removed the app to my '' folder where I put apps I don't use (although it may be one of the built-in apps you can now hide as of iOS 11).

    Since we're on the subject, I'm also not a fan of Apple removing any ability to purchase iPhone apps on the Mac. I don't care if was a portal in iTunes or in the Mac's App Store, but I used to purchase plenty. Now I don't because it's too much rigamarole for me to browse via Safari on the Mac, save it to Reading List, then, on my iPhone remember I have an app I want to buy at some future date and then pull up Safari, go into the Reading List, open that up, and then open up the App Store to purchase. It's really reduce my app purchasing, but it is what it is. Apple feels these moves are in their best interest, and chances are I'm not the primary concern if they've made these changes.

    A similar thing goes for their EarPods and AirPods. They don't fall out, but they're not comfortable and I'm not ready to get a new pair of Beats with the W-series chip which would make using my Apple Watch for music much easier. If WWDC shows some great improvements to how 3rd-party apps can run on the Watch, specifically Spotify and SiriusXM, I think I'll be getting some new in-ear phones from Beats.
    baconstangnumenorean
  • Reply 12 of 34
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 1,630member
    eightzero said:
    Prediction: if you ever get an answer to this question, it will include some phrase akin to "that isn't the point."
    Even if you have a backup, that doesn't mean the solution is easy. What if you have a backup from last week, but you've modified the collection, then it gets messed up. You'd have to have technical abilities, plus you're going to lose something. Sorry, while it's important to backup, that doesn't excuse Apple's disaster in any way. You might not even realize it has been destroyed for some time.

    Soli said:
    2) Personally, I'm not a fan of Apple Music. I did the 3 month trail late last year right after I got a Series 3 Apple Watch with cellular because Spotify wasn't an option. I didn't try it before that because I didn't like how the interface looked on the iPhone, I like Spotify's apps across platforms, and I already had my playlists. I didn't keep it because I didn't care for it, and yet I couldn't tell you and difference in audio between the services for similar songs.

    Additionally, I'm not a fan of how Apple changed the iOS Music app so that you can't change and rearrange the icon bar and  how half(?) of them are all for Apple Music. I even got to the point that I deleted my entire iTunes music library from iTunes and my iPhone (it's still backed up, though), and removed the app to my '' folder where I put apps I don't use (although it may be one of the built-in apps you can now hide as of iOS 11).

    Since we're on the subject, I'm also not a fan of Apple removing any ability to purchase iPhone apps on the Mac. I don't care if was a portal in iTunes or in the Mac's App Store, but I used to purchase plenty. Now I don't because it's too much rigamarole for me to browse via Safari on the Mac, save it to Reading List, then, on my iPhone remember I have an app I want to buy at some future date and then pull up Safari, go into the Reading List, open that up, and then open up the App Store to purchase. It's really reduce my app purchasing, but it is what it is. Apple feels these moves are in their best interest, and chances are I'm not the primary concern if they've made these changes.
    Oh, Apple's whole Music thing is a complete and utter mess. But, unless you're going to ditch the whole system, it's the only real choice. What pissed me off, is that I once had a pretty good system going, before Apple purposely eliminated the ability to download music from a Mac library to iDevices or other Macs, forcing everyone to a broken Apple Music or their cloud matching, etc. Very annoying.
  • Reply 13 of 34
    matrix077matrix077 Posts: 548member
    I can’t believe there’re still people complaining about Apple Music. Looks at the number compared to Spotify. It’s huge! (Hint: it shows it’s not an utter mess). 
    Someone said Tidal is the best streaming music? No, that’s gotta be Apple Music. Why? Well firstly it doesn’t unnecessarily eating up your data by streaming unnecessary bigger files. (And why the hell you want to listening to streaming music in your home? Just use your iTunes library. You can even listen to 24/96 music on iTunes. You don’t have to limit yourself to just CD quality)
    Secondly & the most important point, Apple Music allows you to listen to YOUR OWN MUSIC. No matter what it is.. your own mixed tape.. bootlegged concerts.. foreign music.. no matter what it is you can just upload it to Apple Music & it will be there with you everywhere. 
    What’s the point in listening to music if you can’t listen to your own? Tell me how can I listen to my favorite Japanese song like this on Spotify? I just can’t. 
    So what’s the point to pay them for?


    And I haven’t talked about Siri integration, Apple Watch LTE & HomePod yet. 
    edited May 16 cornchipStrangeDays
  • Reply 14 of 34
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 1,630member
    matrix077 said:
    I can’t believe there’re still people complaining about Apple Music. Looks at the number compared to Spotify. It’s huge! (Hint: it shows it’s not an utter mess). 
    That doesn't mean it isn't a mess, just that more people are locked into the Apple eco-system. It isn't like Apple gave us an alternative (like there used to be... they took it away). It's a horrible UI/UX. I guess it kinda, sorta works. But, that's not saying a whole lot.

    matrix077 said:
    Secondly & the most important point, Apple Music allows you to listen to YOUR OWN MUSIC. No matter what it is.. your own mixed tape.. bootlegged concerts.. foreign music.. no matter what it is you can just upload it to Apple Music & it will be there with you everywhere. 
    If you have enough storage or a 'Net connection, I guess. Yes, this is a good point. BUT, I used to have that capability before Apple Music, too. I wouldn't need this if Apple hadn't taken away the ability to stream ***AND*** download music from my own iTunes library.
  • Reply 15 of 34
    matrix077matrix077 Posts: 548member
    cgWerks said:
    matrix077 said:
    I can’t believe there’re still people complaining about Apple Music. Looks at the number compared to Spotify. It’s huge! (Hint: it shows it’s not an utter mess). 
    That doesn't mean it isn't a mess, just that more people are locked into the Apple eco-system. It isn't like Apple gave us an alternative (like there used to be... they took it away). It's a horrible UI/UX. I guess it kinda, sorta works. But, that's not saying a whole lot.

    matrix077 said:
    Secondly & the most important point, Apple Music allows you to listen to YOUR OWN MUSIC. No matter what it is.. your own mixed tape.. bootlegged concerts.. foreign music.. no matter what it is you can just upload it to Apple Music & it will be there with you everywhere. 
    If you have enough storage or a 'Net connection, I guess. Yes, this is a good point. BUT, I used to have that capability before Apple Music, too. I wouldn't need this if Apple hadn't taken away the ability to stream ***AND*** download music from my own iTunes library.
    I understand that you have a grudge on Apple removed something useful to you but let be frank, it has nothing to do with quality of Apple Music itself. The good (or bad) of Apple Music will be determined when you’re USING Apple Music, not because it got rid of some function non Apple Music user used. 

    Personally I think Apple should re-instate the download function from Home Sharing or from iTunes syncing. 

    Oh and Apple Music Library doesn’t count toward your iCloud storage, and yes you can download your music to your device in advance if you concern about the Net connection.
    edited May 16 watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 34
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,288member
    cgWerks said:
    matrix077 said:
    I can’t believe there’re still people complaining about Apple Music. Looks at the number compared to Spotify. It’s huge! (Hint: it shows it’s not an utter mess). 
    That doesn't mean it isn't a mess, just that more people are locked into the Apple eco-system. It isn't like Apple gave us an alternative (like there used to be... they took it away). It's a horrible UI/UX. I guess it kinda, sorta works. But, that's not saying a whole lot.

    matrix077 said:
    Secondly & the most important point, Apple Music allows you to listen to YOUR OWN MUSIC. No matter what it is.. your own mixed tape.. bootlegged concerts.. foreign music.. no matter what it is you can just upload it to Apple Music & it will be there with you everywhere. 
    If you have enough storage or a 'Net connection, I guess. Yes, this is a good point. BUT, I used to have that capability before Apple Music, too. I wouldn't need this if Apple hadn't taken away the ability to stream ***AND*** download music from my own iTunes library.
    It’s absolutely not a mess. Not preferring it over other services and not likely certain aspects is not the same as “being a complete and utter mess.”

    The service works and clearly there’s a huge percentage of customers who prefer it. There’s also no lock in. Apple Watch users can only connect with Apple Music to LTE, but the number of Series 3 with Cellular wearers who aren’t carrying iPhones has to be a statistically irrelevant number at this point.
  • Reply 17 of 34
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 3,239member
    nunzy said:
    Apple should offer free membership to tidal users to put them out once and for all. Apple could afford it.
    Why do you want Tidal out of business?
    spheric
  • Reply 18 of 34
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 2,572moderator
    The tide comes in, the tide goes out.  Some ships are left stuck in mud.  
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 34
    glynhglynh Posts: 126member
    I would love to use Apple Music but I continue to give it a wide berth ever since iTunes Match completely screwed up my iTunes library back in the day.

    iTunes Match for some reason decided to modify the cover art for many of the 10.5k tracks ripped from my CD collection to something not even resembling the Artist/Album in question!

    Not sure why it would do that but it was enough to put me off anything to do with Apple & my music collection.

    I did have a backup but it took a lot of work to correct the issue afterwards and since then I have carefully curated my collection to correct typos and other errors such as year of release etc.

    Really don’t want to risk allowing another music service from Apple to wreak havoc with my music collection bcause ‘Apple knows best’ as my music collection has grown since those days.
    cgWerks
  • Reply 20 of 34
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 5,620member
    cgWerks said:

    matrix077 said:
    Secondly & the most important point, Apple Music allows you to listen to YOUR OWN MUSIC. No matter what it is.. your own mixed tape.. bootlegged concerts.. foreign music.. no matter what it is you can just upload it to Apple Music & it will be there with you everywhere. 
    If you have enough storage or a 'Net connection, I guess. Yes, this is a good point. BUT, I used to have that capability before Apple Music, too. I wouldn't need this if Apple hadn't taken away the ability to stream ***AND*** download music from my own iTunes library.
    You keep saying this but I don’t know why. You can stream or download your own music. You can do it via iTunes sync (manually) the old way, or use iCloud Music Library. 

    https://support.apple.com/en-hk/HT201593
    edited May 16
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