JAY-Z might have “99 Problems,” but TIDAL says that falsifying figures ain’t one.
Recently, the Norwegian newspaper Dagens Næringsliv alleged that Hov’s streaming service manipulated listener data for Beyoncé’s LEMONADE and Kanye West’s The Life of Pablo, according to Billboard. They claim this resulted in hundreds of millions “fake playbacks” and large payouts at the expense of other artists.
The news organization claimed that they found this information on a hard drive featuring song data. They also claim that it was backed by researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. “We have through advanced statistical analysis determined that there has in fact been a manipulation of the [TIDAL] data at particular times,” the report reads. “The manipulation appears targeted towards a very specific set of track IDs, related to two distinct albums.”
But TIDAL denies any wrongdoing. “This is a smear campaign from a publication that once referred to our employee as an ‘Israeli Intelligence officer’ and our owner [JAY-Z] as a ‘crack dealer,'” said a TIDAL rep. “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.”
Kanye’s The Life of Pablo brought in 250 million streams in its first 10 days, TIDAL reported at the time of its release. They also claimed that Beyoncé’s LEMONADE garnered 306 million streams in its first 15 days. The company did not reveal exclusive streaming numbers to Nielsen Music. TLOP eventually dropped on all platforms, but LEMONADE remains a TIDAL exclusive.