Jay-Z’s music streaming service Tidal is reportedly under investigation in Norway over allegations that the company faked listener numbers. The extent of the faked numbers could allegedly involve hundreds of millions of false plays of albums from major artists like Beyonce.
According to Bloomberg, Tidal is “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.”
Elisabeth Harbo-Lervik, an attorney for Okokrim, declared in a comment, “It has been made known through media coverage that the reports relate to Tidal’s streaming service and a suspicion that someone has manipulated the number of plays of some songs.”
Tidal was accused of falsifying streaming numbers for big artists like Beyoncé and Kanye West in 2018, with Quartz reporting that the company “reportedly manipulated those streaming numbers, to potentially make the company appear more profitable or increase royalty payments to the [big] artists at the expense of others on the service.” According to a Norwegian newspaper which claimed to have acquired Tidal’s stream data, “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.”
Tidal rejected the allegations.
Following Tidal’s relaunch by Jay-Z in 2015, the streaming service flopped.
In 2015, it was reported that “Beyonce, Alicia Keys, Daft Punk, Kanye West, Usher, deadmau5, Madonna, Rihanna, Jason Aldean, Nicki Minaj, Win Butler and Régine Chassagn of Arcade Fire, Chris Martin of Coldplay, J. Cole, Jack White, and Calvin Harris,” all “own 3 percent stakes in the company.”