Norway begins investigation into alleged “fake streams” on Tidal
Norway’s National Authority for Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime (ØOKOKRIM) has begun a criminal investigation over a claim made by a Norwegian financial newspaper last May that the Tidal streaming service inflated streaming figures.
Dagens Næringsliv made its allegation based on data on an internal Tidal company hard drive that it obtained.
According to DN, sales figures for two of 2016’s biggest albums – Beyoncé’s Lemonade and Kanye West’s The Life Of Pablo – were deliberately inflated by 320 million plays.
This meant that Beyonce and West, both Tidal stakeholders, were paid more royalties at the expense of other artists.
Norwegian collection society Tono, which represents 30,000 songwriters, filed an official complaint with ØOKOKRIM.
Tidal dismissed the claims as “lies and falsehoods,”, and began an internal review to see if data had been breached.
The results of the review by an independent security company have not yet been made public.
In the latest move, ØOKOKRIM has gained court testimony from at least four former Tidal employees.
Two were business analysts with the platform.
A third was head of business intelligence, responsible for analysing streaming figures.
It is also talking to Tono, recording artist association GramArt and the indie label org Fono.
ØOKOKRIM’s chief public prosecutor, Elisabeth Harbo-Lervik says, “We’re still waiting for TIDAL to offer information that will [tell us] anything about a possible manipulation.”
In a statement on Monday, Tidal acknowledged being in communication with ØOKOKRIM but flatly denied it is a “suspect” in the government’s investigation.
Owned by Jay-Z, others with a 3% share in Tidal include Madonna, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, J Cole, Jack White, J Cole, Coldplay, Jason Aldean and Deadmau5.