Jay-Z recently launched his latest album, 4:44, exclusively on Tidal, the rap mogul’s own music streaming service.
The album is critically acclaimed, but its launch was mired by a related controversy: fellow rap superstar Kanye West has reportedly ditched Jay’s platform over a money dispute, according to TMZ.
Sources cited in TMZ suggest Tidal owes West money in excess of $3 million; the company and musician have been corresponding via lawyer letters for the past month.
Kanye’s decision to split from Tidal predates the release of Jay Z’s album in which he trashes Kanye, and we’re told Kanye had no advance knowledge of Jay’s lyrics. We’re told Kanye’s beef with Tidal is twofold—his The Life of Pablo album resulted in 1.5 million new subscribers to Tidal, for which he was supposed to get a bonus but the company hasn’t paid. Kanye also says Tidal reneged on reimbursing him for music videos.
Tidal allegedly warned West that he is still under an exclusive contract with them and that if he attempts to switch platforms, the streaming service will sue him.
It’s an unfortunate controversy for Tidal, which has been beleaguered since Jay-Z took over the company in 2015. It has only around one million paying users—a drop in the bucket compared with leader Spotify (50 million) and Apple Music (around 20 million). It’s also struggled to retain CEOs.