Authorities in Norway are now investigating TIDAL over the alleged streaming number inflations that came to light back in 2016. The Jay-Z-owned company that has long been under speculation and scrutiny now faces an investigation led by the Norwegian Authority for Investigation of Economic and Environmental Crime, also known as Økokrim, according to a report from Bloombergquint.
In March of 2016, TIDAL reported that Kanye West‘s The Life Of Pablo, which was exclusively released on TIDAL, earned 250 million streams in 10 days. At the time, the streaming service claimed they had more than 3 million people subscribed. Those numbers would infer that every TIDAL subscriber was playing The Life Of Pablo more than eight times a day. After TIDAL reported Beyoncé‘s record-breaking album Lemonade was streamed 306 million times in just 15 days after its release, Norwegian newspaper Dagens Næringsliv raised their eyebrows and began to look closer. After January 2017 investigation, the major accusation was that “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 has called Dagens Næringsliv’s reporting a “smear campaign” in the past and hired a third party to investigate what it is calling a data breach. After the Bloombergquint report, a TIDAL representative was reached by Complex and stated, “TIDAL is not a suspect in the investigation. We are communicating with Økokrim. From the very beginning, [Dagens Næringsliv] has quoted documents that they have not shared with us in spite of repeated requests. DN has repeatedly made claims based on information we believe may be falsified. We are aware that at least one person we suspected of theft has been questioned. We cannot comment further at this time and refer to our previous statement, which still stands.”
According to IFPI’s 2018 Global Music Report, streaming accounted for 38.4 percent of total music revenue and grew 41.1 percent from the previous year. Streaming’s global influence on the industry continues to grow and evolve is already a multi-billion dollar industry despite what seems to be a lack of regulation.