NORWAY (CelebrityAccess) – Music Business Worldwide has today reported that Norwegian newspaper Dagens Næringsliv is accusing TIDAL of deliberately faking Kanye West’s and Beyoncé’s streaming numbers.
While this is not the first time the Jay-Z owned streaming service has been accused of messing with its own numbers – in January of 2017 the paper uncovered documents that suggested the company had been deliberately inflating its subscriber figures – DN has now published a bombshell update following a year-long investigation.
The paper first became suspicious of TIDAL when back in March 2016, the service claimed that Kanye West’s The Life Of Pablo, had been streamed 250m times in just 10 days, and that Beyonce’s Lemonade – a Billboard 200 No.1 album – was streamed 306m times within the first 15 days of its release.
DN’s central claim? ‘Beyoncé’s and Kanye West’s listener numbers on TIDAL have been manipulated to the tune of several hundred million false plays… which has generated massive royalty payouts at the expense of other artists.’
The paper’s investigation was ignited after it received an illicit harddrive, which it alleges ‘contains billions of rows of [internal TIDAL data]: times and song titles, user IDs and country codes,’ that are identical to the information received by record labels during the time in question.
To give you a better idea of just how deep the investigation goes, DN actually had the Norwegian University of Science and Technology’s Center for Cyber and Information Security (CCIS) forensically investigate the data it amassed on TIDAL’s plays, and the results are shocking to say the least.
The report says: “We have through advanced statistical analysis determined that there has in fact been a manipulation of the [TIDAL] data at particular times. The manipulation appears targeted towards a very specific set of track IDs, related to two distinct albums.”
You can download the report in full here.
In the case of both The Life of Pablo and Lemonade, DN has alleged that the streaming service manipulated the data of more than 1.3m subscriber accounts, duplicating plays and mimicking subscribers’ streaming patterns to beef up plays.
According to record company royalty payment reports obtained by DN, TIDAL paid Sony in excess of $4 million between April and May of 2016. $2.5 million of that coming directly from Beyoncé’s Lemonade.
If the accusations are true, the consequences could prove fatal for TIDAL.