Jay-Z’s Spotify rival Tidal has been accused of falsifying streaming numbers for the music of prominent artists on the platform, including Beyoncé and Kanye West.
“West’s album was said to have been streamed 250 million times in the first 10 days on the service. And Beyoncé’s record was reportedly played 306 million times in 15 days. While it’s not hard to believe Bey and Yeezy could hit those numbers, they rang false to some, as Tidal said it had 3 million members then,” reported Quartz. “However, according to an in-depth investigation by Norwegian newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN), Tidal has reportedly manipulated those streaming numbers, to potentially make the company appear more profitable or increase royalty payments to the artists at the expense of others on the service.”
In their report, the researchers claimed, “We have through advanced statistical analysis determined that there has in fact been a manipulation of the data at particular times.”
“The manipulation appears targeted towards a very specific set of track IDs, related to two distinct albums,” they declared, adding, “The manipulation likely originates from within the streaming service itself.”
Tidal, however, has denied the claims, describing them as a “smear campaign.”
“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,'” proclaimed Tidal in a statement. “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.”
Despite financial problems, Tidal donated $1.5 million to Black Lives Matter and other social justice movements in 2016.