TIDAL reportedly under investigation for inflated streaming data

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TIDAL reportedly under investigation for inflated streaming dataTidal

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.

H/T: Spin

Lil Wayne, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Anderson .Paak, and Meek Mill announced as TIDAL X headliners

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Lil Wayne, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Anderson .Paak, and Meek Mill announced as TIDAL X headlinersLil Wayne Carter V Release Date

TIDAL has announced the headliners for its annual charity concert, TIDAL X. After announcing earlier this year that the proceeds of the show will support criminal justice reform non-profits, the streaming platform has announced its stacked lineup of performers for its return to Brooklyn’s Barclays Center on October 23.

Headliners will include Lil Wayne, Meek Mill, Anderson .Paak and the return of Ms. Lauryn Hill. Kaskade will return to the event as well. This year’s lineup also features Vic Mensa, Black Thought, Teyana Taylor and more. Tickets for TIDAL X and livestream information can be found here. 

One hundred percent of net ticket proceeds and donations at TIDAL X will support non-profit organizations including #Cut50,  Equal Justice Initiative and Innocence Project and REFORM.

Lil Wayne, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Anderson .Paak, and Meek Mill announced as TIDAL X headlinersImage001 1

TIDAL announces fourth annual benefit concert TIDAL X: BROOKLYN, focused on criminal justice reform

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TIDAL announces fourth annual benefit concert TIDAL X: BROOKLYN, focused on criminal justice reformBeyonce Jay Z Erin Benson Flickr

TIDAL has announced that it will return to Brooklyn’s Barclays Center on October 23 for its fourth annual charity concert. This year, TIDAL X: BROOKLYN will add to the more than $10 million tab that they’ve raised from the first three years of the concert. Following last year’s donations to disaster relief & recovery in places like Houston and Puerto Rico, TIDAL will focus on raising money to help support criminal justice reform, donating profits to a variety of charities including REFORM and Equal Justice Initiative.

Past headliners of TIDAL X have included some of the streaming platform’s most coveted artists, including Beyonce, Nicki Minaj, Jennifer Lopez, Kaskade and Chris Brown, as well as serving as a platform for rising stars like Jessie Reyez, Marc E. Bassy and Kevin Garrett. While headliners haven’t been announced yet, TIDAL members can grab presale tickets here as well as on their mobile app, and the general public will be able to grab tickets Friday, September 7 at 12PM EST. 

REZZ stars in TIDAL’s mini-doc, ‘The Alien Behind The Goggles’

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REZZ stars in TIDAL’s mini-doc, ‘The Alien Behind The Goggles’Rezz Tidal 1

Ahead of her album listening party at Magic Castle, REZZ sat down with TIDAL to briefly divulge into not only where the inspiration came for the Certain Kind Of Magic album, but touch on her come-up, and early influences.

REZZ has always been vocal about her wide range of musical taste, and reiterates this in the interview, citing her love for pop-punk (Green Day, Bring Me The Horizon, My Chemical Romance) and deadmau5 on the electronic end. As she fondly reminisces about her early festival-going days, the documentary drums up a photo of REZZ posing at an event donning an enormous Skrillex perler around her neck.

“I was totally involved in the same way all my fans are today,” she says.

Twitter has housed quite a few watershed moments in REZZ’s career. She enthusiastically recounts the day Skrillex followed her on the platform, and soon messaged her asking her to keep him in the loop on her unreleased tracks.

She also emphasizes how she uses her constant interaction with fans on Twitter to allow them to feel connected to her “as a real person.” REZZ says her fans attributing her quixotic nicknames on Twitter like “magician and wizard,” led to the magic theme becoming the focal point of the new album.

Diving as far back into her musical history as she can remember, she recalls that while she never learned music theory or had any formal training, from a very early age, she displayed an aptitude for rhythm. She cites an exercise from elementary school in which players tried to mimic each other’s drum patterns, and how she intuitively mirrored the other kids’ sequences.

The featured doc is only available for those with TIDAL subscriptions. 

Photo Credit: Philip Prolo

Kanye West and TIDAL are hit with an $84-million lawsuit

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Kanye West and TIDAL are hit with an $84-million lawsuitKanye Tidal Lawsuit

Kanye West has certainly had a summer of GOOD Music, dropping five new albums with his label: Pusha T, his own, a joint Kid Cudi project, NAS, and finally, Teyana Taylor. Kanye’s summer isn’t all coming up roses though, with reports surfacing that claim Ye and TIDAL are getting hit with an $84 million lawsuit.

Back when Kanye released, The Life Of Pablo, he announced on Twitter that his album would be hosted exclusively on TIDAL, saying, “my album will never never never be on Apple.” This, of course, prompted users to sign up and subscribe to TIDAL, handing over personal information to sign up for the service. Today, the album is available on all platforms, thus, a fraud lawsuit was put forward, stating users were “fraudulently induced to subscribe to TIDAL and uniformly tricked into handing over their private data and credit card information by a singular mistruth.”

Judge Gregory Woods already handed Mr. West and the streaming platform a loss in the form of an 18-page decision. Judge Woods ultimately upheld the fraudulent inducement and unjust enrichment claims which means the case would have to be settled out of court or go to trial.

Photo Credit: @tidal/Instagram

Elon Musk blasts streaming services for “crazy low payouts”

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Music creatives have long gotten the short end of the stick when it comes to music streaming royalties. Once the honey pot is divvied up between streaming platforms and music labels, artists and songwriters walk away with only a small piece of the pie.

Mercurial tech baron and founder of Tesla, Elon Musk, is the latest powerful voice to recently speak out on the issue of unequal distribution. The issue is no new struggle in contemporary capitalism, either. The fact of the matter is: when big business is involved, individuals lose out.

But it seems Musk now has a direct stake in the issue considering he’s now dating Canadian singer/songwriter, Grimes. The couple made their first public appearance as a couple at the Met Gala last week in New York City.

The conversation arose over Twitter when Musk was asked about his favorite Grimes song; for which, by the way, he has two:

One conscientious fan tweeted the tech baron wondering which streaming platform fans could engage with in order to most directly benefit Grimes financially.

Musk responded with an infographic showing Spotify, Pandora, and YouTube as the bottom three platforms in terms of gross payout per stream. XboxRhapsody and Tidal are among the top when it comes to artist payouts, with Apple MusicAmazon, Deezer, and Google falling somewhere in the middle.

While the issue of online streaming payouts continues to be a new frontier for the music industry — especially as it converges with tech giants and new platforms who want a piece of the pie — Musk should be commended for bringing the issue into public conversation. At the very least, it is a genuine show of online activism when powerful tech elites raise their voices for unheard, underpaid artistic creatives who often get no say in the matter.

Tidal accused of generating more than 300 million fake streams for Kanye & Beyoncé, strongly denies claim

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Norwegian newspaper, Dagens Næringslivsaid, has accused the streaming service Tidal of deliberately inflating its streaming data behind Beyoncé’s Lemonade and Kanye West’s The Life Of Pablo by hundreds of millions of plays, consequently leading to “massive royalty payouts” for the two artists at the expense of other, smaller acts.

Tidal has since issued a statement denying the claims, even going so far as to call the accusations a “smear campaign.”

A statement obtained by Rolling Stone from the company reads:

“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,’” in reference to a January 2017 report in which Dagens Næringsliv described Jay-Z and Roc Nation executive Lior Tibon with the aforementioned details. “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.”

Dagens Næringslivs backs its claims of Tidal’s forgery with an analysis on internal data it reportedly received on a hard drive they had obtained that contained “billions of rows” of song titles, user IDs, and country codes, and found that – as translated into English partially by Music Business Worldwide – massive repeats of Beyoncé’s and Kanye West’s latest albums were present.

According to the data, one such user streamed Beyoncé’s 46-minute album 180 times in 24 hours which would add up to 8,280 minutes, though there are only 1,440 minutes in 24 hours.

After its exclusive Tidal release in February 2016, Tidal announced that TLOP was streamed 250 million times by its users in the first 10 days that it was available. Simultaneously, Tidal was claiming 3 million subscribers at the time — which averages out to each individual user streaming the album more than a dozen times a day. Similarly, Tidal also claimed that subscribers streamed Lemonade 306 million times in its first 15 days of availability when it was released that April.

After having received the hard drive of data, Dagens Næringsliv reportedly contracted the Norwegian University of Science and Technology’s Center for Cyber and Information Security to run a forensic analysis on it. The CCIS found that 150 million TLOP plays and 170 million Lemonade plays were “duplicates” that did not reflect the actual listening activity of the subscribers they were attributed to. Tidal was made aware of the findings and their lawyer claimed at the time that the newspaper’s data has been falsified and that the study the CCIS conducted was done under false pretenses.

“The number of minutes elapsing before the track is re-entered in the log varies, but the time interval is always a variant of a figure multiplied by six minutes (6, 12, 18, 24, …). In addition, the tracks are restarted at the same second and millisecond,” the Dagens Næringsliv reads.

Ultimately, if the numbers do in fact prove to be falsified, and not a bug in the system, the implications on the industry are quite serious.

According to record label royalty payment reports obtained also by Dagens Næringsliv, Tidal paid West’s record label Universal upwards of $3.8 million dollars following the album’s release. Of that total, $2.3 million was directly in relation to TLOP. The service also paid $2.5 million to Beyoncé’s label Sony in April and May of 2016, though the total royalty payment exceeded $4 million.

To supplement its data, Dagens Næringsliv also spoke with several Tidal subscribers who were identified as frequent listeners in the data set. One user, who was confronted with numbers showing that he had listened to TLOP songs 96 times in one day, had some choice words: “It’s physically impossible.”

H/T: Rolling Stone

 Featured image courtesy of Coachella for Getty Images 

deadmau5 announces second live ‘where’s the drop?’ show

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deadmau5 has added another ‘where’s the drop?’ show date to his touring schedule, just days after announcing the impending release of his orchestral album and its accompanying inaugural live performance on March 7.

The newly added date — Saturday, March 31 — will also take place at The Wiltern in Los Angeles, and like deadmau5’s originally advertised April 1 show date, will be open to attendees of all ages. As in the case of deadmau5’s April 1 show, the March 31 booking will also be streamed live via TIDAL in an extension of the partnership between deadmau5 and the music streaming service, first publicized on March 7.

Those interested in the classical project can purchase tickets to deadmau5’s March 31 appearance, here.

H/T: DJ Mag

deadmau5 to release orchestral album, perform first full-length classical show in partnership with Tidal

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Deadmau5‘s Twitch broadcasts and social media posts teasing the impending arrival of an orchestral project have culminated in “where’s the drop?,” a studio album newly recorded by deadmau5, and slated for release on March 30.

Comprised of classical renditions of various deadmau5 productions, “where’s the drop?” will be followed by a live performance on April 1, in which deadmau5 and a full orchestra will perform a selection of songs as orchestral pieces. The event is the product of deadmau5’s partnership with the subscription music streaming service, Tidal, and as such, will be live streamed exclusively on the service.

Tidal members will have access to presale tickets to the Los Angeles based performance beginning on March 7. New Tidal members will be given 90 days free to the service through the presale.

Those interested in learning more about deadmau5’s first full-length orchestral appearance can find additional information about the event, and can additionally register for a Tidal subscription, here.

H/T: Tidal

Apple Music set to outpace Spotify as top music streaming platform in the U.S. by summer

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apple music spotify

Watching how the digital streaming platforms’ subscribers race has unfolded over the last half decade is a fascinating study in new digital capitalism. Music streaming platforms have to navigate perhaps the most heated online competition to win their consumers, catalyzing moves like partnering with artists for high-profile releases a la Drake‘s Views on Apple Music, or Kanye West‘s The Life of Pablo Tidal exclusive, to deeply discounted student pricing and inventive co-branding ventures. Chief among the DSPs clawing for your business is Spotify, though in the United States, Apple Music is mounting a steady comeback, and reports show Apple could claim the country’s No. 1 spot as soon as this summer.

According to a report by The Wall Street JournalApple’s U.S. subscriber base is growing at a rate of 5 percent per month, well surpassing Spotify’s 2 percent monthly growth. By this summer, Apple will likely close the gap in subscriber numbers completely. Sources even expounded to WSJ that if official numbers included users in trial periods, Apple Music would already have an edge on Spotify’s subscriber count in the U.S. Considering Apple Music’s launch was less than two years ago, compared to Spotify’s July 2011 U.S. debut, the numbers — even just as projections — are quite impressive.

Analysts believe this rapid rise in Apple Music’s adoption rate is due to all Apple technology coming with the digital streaming platform already pre-loaded on all devices, and the upcoming launch of Apple’s home assistant, the HomePod, could likely reinforce another considerable spike in subscribers.

Despite growing competition from Apple, the Swedish music streaming giant still dominates the top spot globally, boasting 70 million users in its most recent report, compared to Apple Music’s 36 million global tally. However, the momentum shift in the U.S. comes at an interesting moment, with Spotify gearing up for their highly anticipated public stock offering.

As the DSP arms race continues to develop, one thing remains certain: competition is fierce, and it seems that this buyer’s market will only continue to get better.