A Norwegian newspaper is accusing Tidal, a music streaming service primarily owned by JAY-Z, of falsifying the number of streams for Kanye West’s Life of Pablo and Beyoncé’s Lemonade. The company is also being accused of paying out inflated royalties based on those numbers reports CBS News.
The story published in Dagens Næringsliv, the Norwegian paper, was translated by Music Business Worldwide and claims millions of false plays have been logged by the platform. “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 publication cites this information from internal log documents from Tidal that it has allegedly obtained.
The Norwegian University of Science and Technology’s Center for Cyber and Information Security (CCIS) was contacted for supporting evidence on the paper’s findings. “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,” reports the CCIS.
Life of Pablo was exclusively released on Tidal, and the streaming service reported the album was streamed over 250 million times just 10 days after its debut. Beyoncé’s Lemonade dropped in April of that year and similarly was claimed by Tidal to have been streamed 306 million times in the first two weeks.
Tidal has denied the falsification claims in a statement to CBS News, “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.”