- 09 May 18
Tidal, the artist-owned streaming service, has been accused of falsifying and inflating the streaming figures of Kanye West and Beyoncé albums to increase payouts.
Following an investigation, Norwegian newspaper Dagens Næringsliv found from the examination of Tidal’s internal data - obtained from a hard drive - that stream counts were manipulated by several hundred million false plays. This, they say, “generated massive royalty payouts at the expense of other artists,” as translated by Music Business Worldwide
An investigation began in 2016 when Tidal claimed that West’s album The Life of Pablo had been streamed 250 million times in its first 10 days while Beyoncé’s Lemonade had managed 306 million streams in the opening fortnight. These figures were questioned as, at the time, Tidal had reported just 3 million subscribers.
The Norwegian newspaper brought the discovered data to the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, which assembled a 78-page report carried out by data security and cyber-crime experts. This report concluded Tidal may have have purposely tampered with streams for the two albums.
“This is a smear campaign from a publication that once referred to our employee as an ‘Israeli Intelligence officer’ and our owner as a ‘crack dealer,’” a Tidal spokesperson told US magazine Rolling Stone, referring to a January 2017 Dagens Næringsliv report. “We expect nothing less from them than this ridiculous story, lies and falsehoods. The information was stolen and manipulated and we will fight these claims vigorously.”
The music-streaming company, backed by hip-hop mogul Jay-Z, has not released a subscriber count since last year.