Tidal Accused of Inflating Beyonce and Kanye West Streaming Numbers

Tidal Accused of Inflating Beyonce and Kanye West Streaming Numbers

Tidal Accused of Inflating Beyonce and Kanye West Streaming Numbers

In its investigative report, the financial daily Dagens Naeringsliv (DN) claimed the streaming numbers for Kanye West's "The Life of Pablo" and Beyonce's "Lemonade" were inflated through manipulated user play counts on Tidal. They are hoping to expose their predicted "several hundred million false plays" which they say has "generated massive royalty payouts at the expense of other artists".

The outlet adds that Dagens Næringsliv received a hard drive containing TIDAL data, which sparked the paper's ongoing investigation into its business affairs and numbers. Two of the Tidal users contacted by DN appeared to have listened to tracks in "Lemonade" 180 and 251 times, respectively, during 24 hours.

Music critic Geir Rakvaag, also supposedly played tracks from The Life Of Pablo 96 times in a single day with 54 of those plays happening in the middle of the night.

And these reactions are just the tip of the iceberg. After verifying with record labels that the data on the drive matched the numbers that Tidal had provided to them, Dagens Næringsliv contracted the Norwegian University of Science and Technology's Center for Cyber and Information Security to run a forensic analysis of the data. "In reviewing the data, in isolation from any other records or logs, it was not possible to determine the exact means of manipulation; however, the absence of records with unreadable data suggested it was not an external Structured Query Language Injection (SQLi) vector based attacked, but rather manipulation from within the streaming service itself".

What make this interesting is the fact that Tidal's service is believed to have had three million subscribers in total across its user base in March of 2016 (which was touted in a press release that year), however, the newspaper published an article in January of this year claiming that it had evidence showing internal figures were well-below this.

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Apple's appetite for acquiring music streaming services, and the agonies and ecstasies that come along with them, has apparently been satisfied. NTNU's Center for Cyber and Information Security (CCIS) forensically investigated the data ultimately concluded that "Given how targeted and comprehensive the manipulation is, it is highly improbable that the manipulation could exclusively be the result of a code-based bug or other anomaly". M-O-N-E-Y. Fraudulently obtained money to be more specific.

Jay-Z's streaming service TIDAL has been accused of faking the numbers for his wife's latest album and close friend Kanye's last album.

"As each of these assumptions is demonstrably false, you and DN lied to NTNU to procure a study", Tidal's lawyer at Reed Smith, Jordan Siev said.

Jay Z, Beyonce and Kanye West have yet to make a statement on any of these allegations.

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