Norway Probes Jay-Z’s Tidal Over Streaming Numbers

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Published January 15, 2019

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Jay and Z-Beyonce

Norwegian authorities are investigating claims that American rapper , Jay Z’ s music streaming service inflated listening figures for albums by Beyoncé and Kanye West .

Norway opened an investigation into Tidal ’ s activities following claims that the company falsified streaming figures, reports The Hollywood Reporter .

An investigative report by Norwegian financial newspaper Dagens Naeringsliv last May claimed that 320 million streams on Tidal of Kayne West ’ s The Life of Pablo , and on Lemonade , an album by Jay – Z ’s wife Beyonce , were bogus.

Norway ’s National Authority for Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime, Okokrim , confirmed on Monday it has launched an investigation into the claims .

DN ’ s report accuses Tidal of intentionally falsifying streaming numbers and consequently paying inflated royalties to Beyonce and Kanye West ’ s labels .

Tidal has repeatedly denied the reports . On Monday , the company issued a statement about the allegations and the Norwegian investigation , “ Tidal is not a suspect in the investigation . We are communicating with Okokrim . From the very beginning , DN 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 .”

The statement referenced by Tidal is from company CEO Richard Sanders from last May , following the first DN report, in which Tidal said they “ reject and deny ” the story’ s claims and said they had been the victims of a “ data breach . ”

DN ’ s revelations , based on an analysis provided by the Norwegian Center for Cyber and Information Security , claim that Tidal recorded more than 320 million “false plays ” of songs from the two albums over short periods, a manipulation affecting more than 1 .7 million users .

The paper said they obtained what they said was Tidal ’s raw user data, which revealed suspicious listening pattering , including simultaneous playbacks of multiple songs by the same user or tracks being restarted every six minutes at the exact same second and millisecond of the song .

Okokrim ’ s chief public prosecutor, Elisabeth Harbo- Lervik, said the investigation , which was launched late last year , is “ still in an early stage .”

In a story on Monday , DN claims at least four former Tidal employees have been interviewed as part of the investigation .

Norway ’s copyright and music association have also filed complaints about Tidal , following DN ’s investigation .

Jay – Z paid $ 56 million to acquire Tidal in 2014 from Wimp , the Norwegian company that developed the streaming service . During a presentation in 2015 , he introduced fellow artists such as Rihanna and Alicia Keys as co – owners .

Beyonce and Jay – Z ’s former protege West both launched their albums exclusively on the streaming platform in 2016 , but Tidal failed to rival streaming competitors such as Apple Music and Spotify .

In 2017 , amid rumours Jay – Z was about to sell Tidal to Apple , mobile carrier Sprint stepped in and bought 33 per cent of the company for $ 200 million .

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