Did Tidal Fake Streams To Boost Beyonce And Kanye? Norwegian News Report Says ‘Yes’

Written by Ann Brown

The numbers aren’t adding up. At least that’s what a group of Norwegian artists claim about Tidal’s streaming data. According to a newspaper investigation,  Jay-Z’s music streaming service manipulated streaming data for false payouts. The report claims that Tidal faked “hundreds of millions” of Kanye West and Beyoncé streams for false payouts.

Norwegian newspaper Dagens Næringsliv started investigating the Tidal streaming numbers back in 2016, using a hard drive it obtained.

The newspaper’s investigation kicked off when Tidal “claimed that West’s album ‘The Life of Pablo’ had been streamed 250 million times in its first 10 days, and that Beyoncé’s album ‘Lemonade’ garnered 306 million streams in its first 15 days. At the time, Tidal reported 3 million subscribers, meaning that every subscriber would have been playing the albums nearly a dozen times a day,” Rolling Stone reported.

The newspaper even had the Norwegian University of Science and Technology analyze the data before coming to its conclusion.

Tidal, which has rarely shared its data publicly, had a streaming exclusive on West’s album for its first six weeks of release and continues to be the exclusive streamer for Beyonce’s album. It 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 streamed 306 million times in its first 15 days of release in April of 2016,” Variety reported.

But Tidal is pushing back. The company, which is in primarily owned by Jay-Z, told Rolling Stone:  “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,’” in reference to a January 2017 report in which Dagens Næringsliv described Jay-Z and Roc Nation executive Lior Tibon with the aforementioned details. “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.”

Tidal, which is maintained by the Scandinavian company Aspiro AB, currently has more than 48.5 million tracks and 175,000 music videos and the company claims to pay the highest percentage of royalties to music artists and songwriters within the music streaming market. Launched in 2014 by Norwegian public company Aspiro, it and parent company was acquired by Jay-Z owned Project Panther Bidco Ltd. in 2015. In 2016, Project Panther Bidco Ltd. was dissolved.

Tidal has been troubled on another front as there have been reports that the company seemed to have already peaked and the growth has stalled.

Featuring: Beyoncé, Jay Z . Credit: Supplied by WENN.com

Sign up for the Moguldom newsletter — the most compelling business news you need to know about reversing inequality in tech, delivered straight to your inbox.


About Ann Brown
Ann Brown has been a freelance writer for more than two decades. Her work has appeared in CocoaFab, Black Enterprise, Essence, MadameNoire.com, New York Trend, Upscale, Moguldom, AFKInsider, The Network Journal, Playboy, Africa Strictly Business, For Harriet, Pathfinders, Black Meetings & Tourism, Frequent Flier, Girl, Honey, Source Sports, The Source, Black Radio Exclusive, and Launch. She studied journalism at New York University and has her B.A. Born in New York, Ann lived in Praia, Cabo Verde, for nearly a decade. She created “An American In Cabo Verde,” a Facebook community.

View Comments