Tidal is hitting back after a Norwegian newspaper claimed that the music streaming service falsified numbers about Kanye West and Beyoncé’s streams.
Back in 2016 it was reported, According to The New York Times, Beyonce’s songs from the Lemonade album was streamed 306 million times and Kanye West‘s The Life of Pablo was streamed 250m in its first 10 days on the service. Tidal was then accused of intentionally falsifying streaming numbers for Beyonce’s “Lemonade” and Kanye West’s “Life of Pablo” albums and consequently paying inflated royalties to the artists’ labels.
Industry insiders are once again questioning the legitimacy of these claims. A Norwegian newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (via Music Business Worldwide) is now also accusing Tidal of inflating (Faking) its subscriber numbers in the past. Music Business Worldwide translated parts of an investigative story by the Norwegian publication Dagens Næringsliv, including one that says:
“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.”
Dagens Næringsliv claims it has a secret trove of internal Tidal documents with logs of streams. The newspaper followed up with two users listed in the logs; the publication asked one user if it was possible for her to play tracks from Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” 180 times within 24 hours, and she said it was not.
When “Life of Pablo” was first released exclusively on Tidal in February 2016, the streaming service claimed that West’s albums had been streamed 250 million times in its first 10 days. But at the time, Tidal also claimed that it had 3 million subscribers, which means that each subscriber would have had to play the album an average of eight times a day in order to reach 250 million streams total.
“Life of Pablo” was available exclusively on Tidal for six weeks before it was released on other platforms. Similarly, when Beyonce’s “Lemonade” dropped, Tidal said that it was streamed 306 million times in its first 15 days in April 2016. That averages out to nearly seven “Lemonade” streams a day per user. Tidal denied these allegations in a statement. Tidal said in the statement:
“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.” The quotes reference descriptions of Jay-Z and Tidal COO/Roc Nation executive Lior Tibon in a previous Dagens Næringsliv article, which were technically accurate at one time but are decades out of date.”
Tidal is primarily owned by Beyonce’s husband Jay-Z.