NORWAY (CelebrityAccess) – In the spring of 2018, Norwegian financial newspaper Dagens Næringsliv broke a story that placed TIDAL at the center of a ‘fake streams’ scandal. Today (Jan. 14) the paper along with Økokrim’s Chief Public Prosecutor, Elisabeth Harbo-Lervik, confirmed that Norway’s National Authority for Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime (Økokrim) has begun an investigation into the explosive claims.
At the time the story initially broke, ND revealed that it had obtained an internal TIDAL company hard drive that proved the streaming service had manipulated the play counts for Beyoncé’s 2016 album Lemonade as well as Kanye West’s The Life Of Pablo “to the tune of several hundred million false plays.”
The paper also suggested that the inflation “generated massive royalty payouts at the expense of other artists.”
While TIDAL CEO Richard Sanders denied any wrongdoing and announced the streaming service would launch an internal investigation of its own, Norwegian collection society Tono, which represents around 30,000 songwriters, filed an official police complaint against TIDAL.
According to ND, after the story broke, two of TIDAL’s business analysts and its Head of Business Intelligence abruptly departed the company after recognizing signs of manipulation in connection to the two albums. ND also claims that the trio contacted a lawyer before alerting TIDAL management of their findings at which time an internal meeting occurred. The former employees later reportedly signed confidentiality agreements.
Commenting on the situation, TIDAL’s lawyer, Fredrik Berg noted that “Tidal is not a suspect in the investigation” and that the company is “communicating with Økokrim.” He went on to say that “From the very beginning, DN has quoted documents that they have not shared with us in spite of repeated requests. DN has repeatedly made claims based on information we believe may be falsified. We are aware that at least one person we suspected of theft has been questioned. We cannot comment further at this time.”