Jay-Z – Fraud Investigation Against Rapper’s Tidal Platform Will Continue, Norwegian Court Decides
The data-fraud investigation of Tidal, the streaming service that is primarily owned by Roc Nation mogul Jay-Z, has been approved to move forward by the Norwegian Supreme Court Appeals Committee, according to a report by Norwegian financial newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN).
Tidal’s data troubles in Norway began in 2018 when DN cited sources that have claimed Tidal faked the numbers for some of its biggest albums. Because of that scandal, Norway’s National Authority for Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime launched a probe on Tidal in June 2019.
In the initial investigation, DN stated that they obtained access to the streaming company’s hard drive and found some data suggesting that the listening stats for Beyonce’s “Lemonade” and Kanye West’s “The Life of Pablo”— which were both exclusively streamed by Tidal for several months or years— had been inflated. The newspaper released a statement at the time saying,
“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”
Because Tidal calculates the royalties for all songs on the streaming platform based on the number of plays, this is a serious issue that could potentially affect the royalties being paid to other artists. Tidal, which was originally founded in Oslo, Norway, fought against these claims in August 2019 by threatening to take legal action against the Norwegian government. Tidal’s legal representatives have so far declined to make a statement on the latest ruling.
Tidal was launched in 2014 by Norwegian public company Aspiro and is currently owned by Jay-Z. He acquired the company in 2015 and has since had albums such as Rihanna’s Anti, and Beyonce’s Lemonade streamed exclusively prior to the albums being released to other streaming services. Tidal has also added podcasts and livestreams to the platform. Tidal promotes the idea of the artists being able to own a streaming service. So far there have been a few artists that have a small stake in the company including Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Rihanna, Kanye West, Nicki Minaj, Alicia Keys, Usher, J. Cole.
What are your thoughts on Tidal being investigated further for claims of data fraud? Share your thoughts in the comments below.