TIDAL Falsified Streaming Numbers Of Beyoncé, Kanye West’s Albums
TIDAL is a subscription-based music streaming service owned by popular rapper, Jay-Z. The streaming service has come under serious scrutiny over misconduct, allegedly inflating streaming numbers of albums by multiple artists. A new report by Norwegian news outlet, Dagens Næringsliv has accused the streaming service after a year-long investigation.
Dagens Næringsliv worked closely with music research firm Midia and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology’s Center for Cyber and Information Security (CCIS) to validate the accusations. The albums in question here, are Kanye West’s The Life of Pablo and Beyoncé’s Lemonade. Apparently, the reporters from Dagens Næringsliv obtained a hard drive that contained manipulated TIDAL streaming data. They then took that data to Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)’s Center for Cyber and Information Security (CCIS), which analysed it and laid down their findings.
Both Lemonade and The Life of Pablo were released exclusively on TIDAL in 2016. 10 days after TLOP was released, TIDAL announced that the album was streamed over 250 million times. Two weeks after Lemonade was released, the album apparently was streamed over 306 million times. These numbers sounded suspicious to folks over at Dagens Næringsliv, especially considering the TIDAL has only over 3 million worldwide subscribers.
In a statement to Variety, TIDAL said:
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.’ 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.
Buying fake views and subscribers is nothing new. Outlets like Fiverr offer services like these as well. In this case, if the study finds some sort of grounding, TIDAL could be in some serious legal trouble. TIDAL executives could be sued for collusion and/or fraud since streaming rates correspond to royalty payments. Inflating streaming numbers and thus increasing royalty payments is clearly illegal and if proven to be true, Sony and Universal would have to pay back some funds and a penalty.