Allegations of inflated streaming numbers is a cause for concern to Prince's family.
It's been a rough couple of months for TIDAL, the music streaming service that counts Jay-Z as its biggest owner. The service has been the target of several miniature controversies, including missing royalty payments, unpaid legal bills, and a potential data breach. However, none of those have had the impact of the recent allegations that Tidal was artificially inflating its streaming numbers for exclusive albums, such as Beyonce's Lemonade and Kanye West's The Life of Pablo.
The rumors of misconduct on part of the service has left the estate of one of their exclusive artists, Prince, unsure about their future with the company. According to TMZ, the family wants out of their exclusivity deal with TIDAL, primarily due to these allegations. They wish to avoid having Prince's legacy caught up in a potential scandal.
This puts TIDAL in a bad position. It was announced in early May that Jay-Z was helping to compile the next posthumous album from Prince, which would be later revealed to be Piano & A Microphone 1983. The album would have a two week period of exclusivity on TIDAL after its release sometime in 2019.
TIDAL, on their part, have completely denied the accusations. A statement from the company responded with, "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.’ 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." The publication in question referring to Norwegian newspaper, Dagens Næringsliv, which initially broke the story.