Since Jay-Z's company bought Tidal in early 2015, the music streaming service has had three different Chief Executive Officers in a nine month period, fired several executives and saw a possible big deal with Samsung collapse. Now, the rapper is looking for a way to hold Stockholm-based Schibsted ASA responsible for the disappointment with a lawsuit claiming he was deliberately misinformed by the company during their pre-sale discussions.
Jay-Z paid $56 million to acquire Aspiro AB, the company that created Wimp and Tidal, but he claims that Schibsted ASA gave him over-inflated subscriber numbers to secure the deal. Specifically, he was told that Tidal had more than half a million subscribers, but it turns out that was not the case at all.
The Norwegian news website Breakit was the first to report of the legal battle between the old and new owners of Tidal.
"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 ... we have now served legal notice to parties involved in the sale," Tidal said in a statement.
Schibsted spokesperson Anders Rikter denied the accusations and insisted that there was complete transparency during the negotiations.
"We would like to point out that the company was listed on the stock exchange with everything that entails regarding transparent financial reporting," he said.
The discrepancy could possibly be linked to the subscription and promotional deals Aspiro AB had with other providers, which accounts for more than half of the total number of people subscribed to one or all of Aspiro's products. In short, while Schibster may have shown a correct value of more than half a million subscribers, only a portion of those subscriptions were actually for Tidal.
The records show that Aspiro had 503,000 subscribers in 2014. However, only 112,000 of those subscriptions were for Tidal. Cable, telecommunications and WiMP services offered by Aspiro share the other 391,000 subscriptions.