Jay-Z’s music-streaming service Tidal was accused of cooking the books containing its streaming data to score higher numbers and payouts for Beyoncé and Kanye West’s most recent albums.
In a 78-page report, Norwegian newspaper Dagens Naeringsliv said it investigated Tidal’s internal data found Bey’ and ’Ye’s streaming numbers were manipulated by fake plays to the beat of “several hundred million.”
The streaming platform was relaunched in 2015 with West’s “The Life of Pablo” (the first album to go platinum through streaming), and then featured Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” exclusively on Tidal in 2016.
The investigation began when Tidal claimed West’s album was streamed 250m times in its first 10 days, while Beyoncé’s record was reportedly played 306m times in 15 days.
At first glance, the story totally checks out — after all, it’s friggin Beyoncé and Kanye we’re talking about here.
Tidal reported only 3m subscribers at the time…Which means every subscriber would’ve had to play the albums “dozens of times” a day.
DN obtained a hard drive of internal Tidal data in 2017 that included more than 1.5B rows of user play logs — and when they cross-referenced users with the data, it didn’t add up.
DN’s research shows that the data was fudged by copying and inserting playbacks of tracks and adjusting the timestamps on the duplicate plays.
The report concluded that Tidal knowingly manipulated its data for the two albums to “generate massive royalty payouts at the expense of other artists” on the platform.
A lawyer for Tidal told Rolling Stone that the findings were fabricated, and the accusations are a part of a “smear campaign” by the publication — one that the music company plans to fight “vigorously.”
The report also questions Tidal’s 3m reported subscribers — based on revenue, research analysts believe that number couldn’t have been higher than 1m.
Source: The Hustle