When Jay-Z inherited TIDAL back in 2016, the act left TIDAL competitors in qualm about their own futures. The erupting success of the platform has lifted the streaming brand into a worldwide digital music haven of milestone history. Kanye West‘s 2016 The Life of Pablo, which was exclusively available on TIDAL for six weeks hit 250 million streams in just 10 days, according to the firm. The streaming platform also announced that they had exceeded 3 million subscriptions.
The huge stats cause competitors to question TIDAL’s legitimacy and the groundbreaking success of Beyonce‘s Lemonade just a couple of months later, did not make it any better. Lemonade was reportedly streamed 306 million times in the first 15 days after its release. The success of Lemonade motivated Norwegian publication Dagens Næringsliv to conduct an investigation in January 2017. The Norway pub released documents alleging TIDAL was in the business of consciously bluffing their subscription count.
Under the project pseudo “Project Panther,” the Norwegian investigation went about its way, retrieving data from music industry research firm Midia, who revealed that TIDAL’s true worldwide subscription count is just that of an estimated 1 million.
The DN’s focal point: ‘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.’
The publication’s evidence is reportedly that of a hard drive which contains TIDAL’s internal data including times, song titles, country codes and user IDs. They also went as far as interviewing TIDAL users from different regions including Copenhagen and Washington, D.C. who provided the investigation with their own play logs of both The Life of Pablo and Lemonade, in order to confirm average play counts.
The information of the said hard drive is reportedly a match to that of the record label’s. The investigation has concluded that the stream manipulation is targeted towards specific demographics and according to their findings, several different streaming methods were apparently used to bluff up the streaming count of the two albums.