[Blind Gossip] This legendary, over-50 recording artist wants to release a new album… but is disgusted by the shenanigans of the music industry! He singled out Jay Z and Beyonce‘s Tidal as especially problematic.
It used to be so simple. You sold a record, you got credit for selling a record. You sold an album, you got credit for selling an album.
Now it’s all bullsh*t. There’s streaming and digital downloads and You Tube views. The numbers are easy to manipulate. Someone gives away a million records and they tell everyone they sold a million. What kind of fake sh*t is that?
Don’t even get me started on Tidal. Jay Z and Beyonce should be embarrassed for that giant turd. They act like they’re helping artists when they’re really restricting them with “exclusive” deals. They’re con artists. They fake their numbers. Then they put up sh*t like Kanye’s crap fashion shows. The day Tidal disappears, I’m gonna throw one big f*cking party!
Similar: King Bloodbath
[Optional] Do you think Tidal fakes its numbers?
We told you in 2016 that our music industry sources were upset because they believed that Jay-Z’s streaming company, Tidal, was faking its numbers.
Well, it took two years, but it looks like our sources were absolutely right!
In a bombshell report from a Norwegian newspaper’s investigative team, Tidal apparently grossly inflated streaming numbers so that it could fraudulently collect millions of dollars in royalties for two of its artists, Beyonce and Kanye West.
Jay-Z’s TIDAL Accused Of Inflating Beyoncé And Yeezy Streaming Numbers
Jay-Z’s music streaming company TIDAL has been accused of fabricating streaming numbers for Kanye West’s The Life of Pablo and Beyoncé’s Lemonade when the albums were first released on the platform in 2016.
Writers at Norwegian newspaper Dagens Næringsliv grew suspicious of the high streaming numbers – 250 million for The Life of Pablo in 10 days, and 306 million for Lemonade in 15 days – considering TIDAL’s claimed subscriber-base is only 3 million users.
A year-long investigation, involving close collaborations with music research firm Midia and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology’s Center for Cyber and Information Security (CCIS), has allegedly validated the suspicions of inflated numbers.
DN, Midia and CCIS obtained and analyzed streaming data for numerous subscribers, who appeared to have artificially high listening rates for the two albums on the platform.
In a series of interviews with some of those subscribers, DN reveals disbelief at the data, with listeners claiming they could have not possibly generated such statistics (like listening to Lemonade 180 times in 24 hours.)
CCIS’ analysis shows that numerous methods were allegedly used to enhance play counts at specific times for those two specific albums. For The Life of Pablo, TIDAL is accused of duplicating plays for over 1 million subscribers at the same two time points. For Lemonade, the pattern is more complicated, but still consistent with automated behavior.
Since streaming rates correspond to royalty payments, TIDAL allegedly inflated the value of the impacted tracks “at the expense of other artists.” According to reports by TIDAL, the company paid Beyoncé’s label Sony $2.5 million for Lemonade and paid West’s label Universal €2 million for The Life of Pablo.
If the accusations find enough grounding, it is possible that TIDAL executives could be sued for causes of action such as collusion and/or fraud. Illegal cooperation between parties, internal or external, to inflate streaming numbers and thus increase royalty payments for certain artists is clearly illegal and fraudulent. Although there is no precedent, if TIDAL is found to have manipulated numbers, then Sony and Universal would probably be required to pay back some funds plus a possible penalty, similar to a clawback.
Jay-Z and his legal team are amounting all of this to a witch hunt, calling the story and its accompanying studies “a smear campaign,” full of “lies and falsehoods.” He is purportedly also currently under investigation by the SEC.
The researchers even checked in with some of Tidal’s individual subscribers to ask about their streaming of Lemonade.
From Music Business Worldwide:
To set the scene, DN interviews a series of TIDAL subscribers, presenting them with logs of their individual play-counts of both Beyoncé’s Lemonade and Kanye West’s The Life Of Pablo.
One of these subscribers, Copenhagen-based composer Halfdan Nielsen, is informed he supposedly listened to songs from Lemonade on more than 50 occasions. He denies it, calling the figures “nonsense”.
DN also tracks down a law student in Washington D.C – Tiare Faatea – who, according to the data, played tracks from Beyoncé’s Lemonade 180 times within 24 hours.
Faatea is perplexed. “No, that can’t be right,” she says.
Another TIDAL subscriber, music critic Geir Rakvaag, supposedly played tracks from Kanye West’s The Life Of Pablo 96 times in a single day – with 54 plays in the middle of the night.
“It’s physically impossible,” he says.
The list goes on.
So much so, that DN gets in touch with NTNU – the Norwegian University of Science and Technology – which it says has ‘assembled some of Norway’s leading experts in data security and cybercrime prevention’.
NTNU’s Center for Cyber and Information Security (CCIS) has forensically investigated the data that DN has obtained on TIDAL’s plays.
It’s produced a shocking report – which you can download in full here.
Amongst the CCIS’s findings: “We have through advanced statistical analysis determined that there has in fact been a manipulation of the [TIDAL] data at particular times. The manipulation appears targeted towards a very specific set of track IDs, related to two distinct albums.”
Its findings suggest that “various methods” were allegedly used to bulk up plays of The Life of Pablo and Lemonade.
To sum it up: Jay Z and Tidal committed massive fraud so that just two of its artists – Beyonce and Kanye West – would be paid millions of dollars in royalties that they did not rightfully earn.
That’s criminal activity, folks… perpetrated by a bunch of con artists.