Tidal accused of deliberately inflating Kanye West’s and Beyoncé’s streaming numbers upon which royalties are paid

“Tidal is under fire once again for allegedly inflating its streaming numbers. This time, it’s for misreporting the amount of plays Beyoncé’s Lemonade and Kanye West’s The Life of Pablo had by ‘several hundred million’ false plays,” Timothy J. Seppala reports for Engadget. “According to a report (translated) from Swedish newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN), there’s no way that the streaming numbers could’ve been that high without Tidal manipulating its data. More plays meant that the two artists garnered higher royalty payments.”

“The publication received a hard drive brimming with Tidal play data including play times, song titles, user IDs and country codes,” Seppala reports. “DN contacted three subscribers that the data said had played the albums. One supposedly played The Life of Pablo 96 times in a single day, with 54 plays in the middle of the night. The subscriber said that would’ve been ‘physically impossible.'”

MacDailyNews Take: Unless he folded the universe. The Life of Pablo is 66 minutes and one second in length.

Read more in the full article here.

“The consequences of this alleged tampering are seismic,” Tim Ingham reports for Music Business Worldwide. “DN says it has gained access to record company royalty payment reports, which reveal that TIDAL paid Sony in excess of $4 million across April and May of 2016.”

“Of this, Lemonade – a Billboard 200 No.1 album – accounted for $2.5 million, based on the figures reported by TIDAL,” Ingham reports. “It’s a similar case for The Life of Pablo: according to DN, in February and March 2016, TIDAL paid Universal a total of €3.2 million. Of this, The Life of Pablo cashed in around €2 million.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: A music service owned by artists that reports numbers upon which artists’ payments are based.

What could go wrong?

Right now they’re writing the story for us. We need to write the story for ourselves.Jay-Z, at the launch of Tidal in March 2015, referring to the music industry

Beleaguered Tidal subscription music service running out of cash, may close next year – December 13, 2017
Jay Z’s Tidal music service loses its third CEO in two years – May 26, 2017
Sprint buys stake in Tidal Music Service – January 23, 2017
Kanye West tries to goad Apple CEO Tim Cook to buy Tidal – August 1, 2016
Kanye West calls for Apple to buy Tidal, demands executive meeting – July 31, 2016
Apple buying Tidal would be a very savvy move – July 1, 2016
Why the heck would Apple want to buy Jay Z’s Tidal? – July 1, 2016
Why Apple buying Jay Z’s Tidal makes sense – and why it doesn’t – July 1, 2016
Desperate Spotify tries to manufacture an Apple App Store antitrust issue that does not exist – July 1, 2016
Spotify accuses Apple of ‘grave harm’ – July 1, 2016
Apple in talks to acquire Jay Z’s Tidal music service – June 30, 2016


  1. That reads like someone has found a rather clever way to launder money except I am not sure how it would get out at the other end unless the artists are in on the scheme.

    1. These people have a combined net worth of over 1.4 billion dollars. I find it hard to believe they would commit what (for them) amounts to petty theft.

      For goodness sake, they are Democratic Party Royalty. They are suffering from racism! They are victims! Not criminals.

  2. You know I really tire of Tidal’s bend towards Hip-Hop/Rap (not to be confused with R&B/Soul…) but dammit one of my joys of life is being able to use it integrated with Roon to make playlist that include such diversity in genres and file types.

    I can create playlist with MQA and CD quality streamed songs from Tidal and combine them with my own DSD, 24/192;96 files and ripped CDs. This is Audiophile Nirvana!

    Matter of fact, Audirvana is another software solution that focuses on Tidal playback including MQA and your own library with even better audio quality (by a smidgeon) but doesn’t allow them to be intermixed (bummer). Roon is much better for whole-house streaming through (uses Airplay!).

    If you are in the market for a new DAC find one that offers MQA unfolding. You can find them from Audioquest for $100-200, Meridian for $200, and the Pro-ject Pre Box for $400 (what I am using till I bite the bullet and get a Mytek Brooklyn)

    If you enjoy good QUALITY sounding music you will see why every audiophile site there is raves about Tidal. If you enjoy lower quality files, that is fine, you probably wouldn’t gain anything from Tidal.

    Yeah, it could’ve been Apple doing this but sound quality is a geezer enjoyment, Apple wouldn’t understand….

    1. The younger generations are blowing their eardrums out with earpods. They’ll be lucky to hear music at all when they’re in their 50s or older, let alone appreciate its quality. I cringe every time I’m near someone wearing earpods and I can hear the music they’re listening to.

    2. I do not buy from iTunes anymore.

      I buy physical CDs and rip them in ALAC (used to be known of as Apple Lossless) or from HD Tracks which sells complete albums that are encoded in the HQ format of your choosing. When you buy music from Amazon you get immediate access to the file in MP3 format and when the CD arrives you can rip it yourself- all for the same or less than Apple’s 256 AAC lossy files.

      Apple could easily increase revenue at iTunes by allowing customers to upgrade their AAC 256 files to ALAC for a nominal fee like the iTunes Plus Program did after they went from 128 to 256 AAC. Tim just wants to rent you stuff, apparently.

  3. So Tidal is paying money they don’t have for streams that never happened from subscription money that doesn’t exist?

    Did I get that correct? Or is it the other way around?

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