Tidal Accused of Falsifying Beyonce & Kanye Streaming Numbers
According to a new report, Tidal has been accused of purposely falsifying streaming numbers for Beyonce and Kanye West. Specifically, they’re accused of inflating the numbers for Bey’s “Lemonade” album and Kanye’s “Life of Pablo” album. A Norwegian newspaper (via Music Business Worldwide) claims the streaming service paid inflated royalties to the artists’ labels.
Tidal was launched in 2013 and is owned by Beyonce’s husband, Jay-Z. Jay-Z is also close friends with Kanye. Tidal is a subscription-based music streaming service that combines lossless audio and high-definition music videos with exclusive content and special features on music. They claim to pay the highest percentage of royalties to music artists and songwriters within the music streaming market.
The outlet says Tidal inflated its subscriber numbers in the past, a claim the company has denied. The outlet also denied the latest accusations. Tidal claimed that West’s album 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 — a claim that would have meant every subscriber played the album an average of eight times per day; and that Beyonce’s album was dreamed 306 million times in its first 15 days of release in April of 2016.
These claims led the outlet to investigate the service’s numbers and report that it was intentionally inflating its subscriber count, a report supported by research from British firm Midia, which estimated that Tidal’s total number of subscribers was closer to 1 million globally.
Today’s report, says that
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.
It bases this claim on data contained within a hard drive it obtained that “contains ‘billions of rows of [internal TIDAL data]: times and song titles, user IDs and country codes.” Tidal has disputed the information on the hard drive and says in a 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.
According to the outlet, Tidal paid Beyonce’s label Sony more than $4 million for April and May of 2016, of which “Lemonade” accounted for $2.5 million; it also paid West’s label Universal 3.2 million euros, 2 million for “Pablo.”
The outlet says Tidal has strongly denied “manipulating streaming figures or tampering with royalty payments,” adding that
The lawyers claim that NTNU’s report is based on false assumptions. 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.