Last week MTO reported that Tidal had officially been named a suspect in a Norwegian music streaming fraud case.
Now we can officially report that Jay-Z's Tidal streaming company has admitted to manipulating the streaming numbers of at least one artist, Kanye West - who was a Tidal partner.
According to new court documents obtained by MTO News via Norway's largest business newspaper, Dagens Næringsliv (Norwegian for "Today's Business"), Tidal has admitted to artist manipulations.
In the documents, Tidal acknowledges that the company changed power figures after the launch of "Life of Pablo" due to major technical issues.
Tidal claims they didn't artificially inflate Kanye's numbers on purpose, however. Jay-Z's company claimed that Kanye's album was so popular, that it caused a system-wide glitch forcing them to estimate the streams.
In January of 2019, though, a Tidal representative denied that the platform was under investigation. Now it looks like either that wasn’t true or the situation has changed since then: Norwegian financial publication Dagens Næringsliv (DN) reports that Tidal is in fact under investigation for data fraud in Norway.
DN notes that the formal investigation, which was first launched last June, has been approved by the Norwegian Supreme Court Appeals Committee. The initial allegations first came to light through a DN investigation, in which the publication alleged they obtained access to Tidal hard drives and discovered that listening stats for Beyonce’s Lemonade and Kanye’s The Life Of Pablo had been inflated, which could have an affect on royalties paid to artists.
A Tidal representative said in 2019, “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.”