JAY-Z's streaming service, Tidal, has been accused of inflating streaming numbers for Beyoncé and Kanye West.
According to a report by Norwegian newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (as reported on by Music Business Worldwide) the paper has accused Tidal of inflating the streaming numbers for Bey's Lemonade and Kanye's Life of Pablo. The company has previously been accused of inflating its subscriber numbers.
Specifically, Tidal claimed that Kanye's Life of Pablo (which was available exclusively on Tidal for its first six weeks of release) had been streamed 250 million times in its first 10 days of release in February of 2016, while claiming it had just 3 million subscribers. That means every subscriber would've played the album an average of eight times per day.
Tidal also said that Lemonade was streamed 306 million times in its first 15 days of release in April of 2016, numbers that sparked the investigation by the paper. The paper now says that in addition to Tidal possibly inflating subscriber numbers (claiming 3 million when it really has an estimated 1 million), “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 supported its findings with data from NTNU – the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.
The paper says that Tidal has strongly denied “manipulating streaming figures or tampering with royalty payments." Tidal's lawyers also say that "NTNU’s report is based on false assumptions" and "TIDAL believes that the data the report is based on is stolen, incomplete for the relevant periods, that DN has changed the data and has lied to NTNU about the origin and content of the data.”
“As each of these assumptions is demonstrably false, you and DN lied to NTNU to procure a study," Tidal's lawyer at Reed Smith, Jordan Siev said.
The report can be viewed in full here.