Tidal hasn’t had the best of press since it launched to a huge pop star backed fanfare in 2015, but it now seems as though its owner, rapper and music mogul Jay Z, believes a raft of negative stories is down to the company’s rivals. Following reports that allege Tidal has falsified data, inflating stream numbers for both Beyonce’s Lemonade and Kanye West’s Life Of Pablo, the 48-year-old Roc Nation owner has blamed ‘slighted’ competitors for a ‘wave of bad press’. What’s more, he’s said to be citing his wife as the catalyst for the supposed ‘hits’ on Tidal’s reputation. ‘Jay believes the wave of bad press his company, Tidal, gets in the press is being pushed by rivals in the streaming arena who are angry with him over the loss of a potential Beyonce deal.
‘Beyonce was offered a large deal by Apple Music in 2013 which would have given them ownership of her music and exclusive rights to its streams. She turned it down and re-signed with Sony but went on to give Tidal exclusive rights to her latest album, Lemonade, which can only be streamed on Tidal.’
Directly addressing the recent allegations surrounding Tidal supposedly manipulating streaming figures, including that of Beyonce’s hit album, our source added: ‘Jay has now been accused of falsifying data to make it seem as if it was played more times than it was. He’s appalled by the claim and believes the story is being pushed by people who feel slighted by Bey’s decision to choose his business over theirs.’ It comes just after the Norwegian newspaper Dagens Næringsliv reported that the streaming service falsified and inflated streaming numbers for Kanye’s The Life of Pablo and Beyoncé’s Lemonade albums in 2016.
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. The publication instead states that an internal report reveals the streaming service only made payments to record labels for around 850,000 users.
Responding to the allegations made by the paper using the study, Tidal released the following statement to Music Business Worldwide: