Legal action has been taken following accusations of inflated streaming numbers at TIDAL.
Last week new reports emerged with accusations against Jay-Z’s streaming platform Tidal. A Norwegian publication, suspicious of numbers gained on Kanye West’s The Life Of Pablo release in 2016, one of the many drops that remained a TIDAL exclusive for some time after its release, decided to investigate how the project generated 250 million streams on the platform alone. They offered up the same suspicion on Beyoncé’s Lemonade, which broke streaming records despite not being available on other major platforms like Spotify. The newspaper concluded that the company had been manipulated with false plays in order to increase both artists’ royalty payouts from the service.
Following the original report from Norway’s Dagens Naeringsliv (DN), a series of reporters from the publication served to double down on Tidal’s business dealings and introduced new information on Monday (May 14), including findings that indicate that Tidal lowered payments to labels from 62.5 percent to 55 percent without renegotiating these terms. According to DN, this payout now puts Tidal on the same playing field as Spotify and Apple Music after being championed for being the platform that pays the most to musicians and creators.
Now, a group of Scandinavian artist organizations have decided to go the legal route in light of these new reports. TONO, a Norwegian society for composers, lyricists, and publishers has officially filed a report with Okokrim, Norway’s police authority responsible for handling economic and environmental crime.
TONO’s sister organization Koda in Denmark has also requested an independent audit of Tidal’s streaming numbers while Norway’s professional musicians’ association GramArt has requested the same and indicated its intent to seek monetary restitution if it is found that Tidal has withheld money from its members. The Norwegian branch of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry has also stated that it will be reviewing the Norwegian albums and single charts.
While Tidal has not responded to these new developments, the company did release a statement following the initial reports: "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."