“Tidal, a subscription-based music and video streaming service owned by rapper Jay-Z, is being investigated in Norway over allegations of falsely inflating listening numbers,” Sveinung Sleire writes for Bloomberg Quint.
“The investigations follow ongoing reports by Norwegian newspaper Dagens Næringsliv that the music streaming service had inflated its listening numbers of artists such as Beyonce and Kanye West,” Sleire writes. “Tidal is now being probed by the Norwegian Authority for Investigation of Economic and Environmental Crime (Okokrim) after having received allegations from Norwegian artist associations claiming potential loss of income from the manipulation of streaming data.”
“Jay-Z acquired Tidal in 2014 in a $56 million deal, to give his peers a greater share of the proceeds from streaming services, which now account for more than half of all U.S. record industry sales,” Sleire writes. “The services has failed to rival platforms such as Spotify Technology SA and Apple Music.”
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“Norwegian financial newspaper Dagens Næringsliv said it had obtained an internal TIDAL company hard drive which proved the streaming platform’s play-counts for two major albums from 2016 – Beyoncé’s Lemonade and Kanye West’s The Life Of Pablo – had been artificially inflated,” Tim Ingham reports for Music Business Worldwide. “DN reported: ‘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.’”
“In response to DN’s story, Norwegian collection society Tono, which represents around 30,000 songwriters, filed an official police complaint against TIDAL,” Ingham reports. “Today (January 14) brings big news: Dagens Næringsliv has revealed that Norway’s National Authority for Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime (Økokrim) has begun an investigation into potential ‘fake streams’ at TIDAL.”
“According to DN’s original report into ‘fake streams’, at least 320 million TIDAL plays across both The Life Of Pablo and Lemonade in 2016 are believed to have been manipulated. DN interviewed individual TIDAL subscribers who said there were plays of these albums recorded on their accounts which they didn’t recognise,” Ingham reports. “DN further reported that it had gained access to record company royalty payment reports revealing 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 an estimated $2.5 million.”
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MacDailyNews Take: The tide turns red.
A music service owned by artists that reports numbers upon which artists’ payments are based. What could go wrong? — MacDailyNews, May 17, 2018
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
Beleaguered Tidal music subscription service reportedly months behind on royalty payments – May 17, 2018
Tidal accused of deliberately inflating Kanye West’s and Beyoncé’s streaming numbers upon which royalties are paid – May 9, 2018
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