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News May 21, 2018

TIDAL investigating security breach after data manipulation allegations, fallouts increase

Staff Writer
TIDAL investigating security breach after data manipulation allegations, fallouts increase

TIDAL CEO Richard Sanders is “aggressively investigating” a data breach in the streaming service platform.

This follows allegations in Norwegian newspaper Dagens Næringsliv of the manipulation of listener data.

The story offered third-party analysis of hard drive data that suggested inflated numbers, particularly for Kanye West and Beyonce, which led to huge royalty pay-outs to the artists. 

It had previously reported that West’s The Life Of Pablo was streamed 250 million times in its first 10 days, while Beyonce’s Lemonade was streamed 306 million in 15 days.

TIDAL right from the get-go sharply denied all allegations, calling it part of an ongoing smear campaign, and a total lack of understanding of the data.

Sanders said that TIDAL rejected the paper’s claims but was protecting itself from any breach of data security.

“Although we do not typically comment on stories we believe to be false, we feel it is important to make sure that our artists, employees, and subscribers know that we are not taking the security and integrity of our data lightly, and we will not back down from our commitment to them,” he emphasised.

“When we learned of a potential data breach we immediately, and aggressively, began pursuing multiple avenues available to uncover what occurred.

“This included reporting it to proper authorities, pursuing legal action, and proactively taking steps to further strengthen our stringent security measures that are already in place.

“Additionally, we have engaged an independent, third-party cyber-security firm to conduct a review of what happened and help us further protect the security and integrity of our data.”

But the fall-out has been severe. Norwegian collection society Tono filed a report with police claiming fraudulent behaviour that decreased royalty payments to its 30,000 songwriter members.

Its director Cato Strøm said he had tried to get in contact with TIDAL executives to voice its artists’ concerns, and many musicians are removing their music from Tidal.

Denmark collection society Koda’s demand that TIDAL’s accounts be audited has since been picked up by collection societies in other parts of the world.

A number of labels came forward to claim TIDAL had been late with their royalty payments.

There were also allegations TIDAL had dropped royalty payouts to labels from 62.5% to 55% without warning.

Sanders concluded: “We are proud of the hard work, devotion to our artist-driven mission, and tremendous accomplishments of our over 100 employees in Norway and 50 more in the United States.

“We look forward to sharing with them, and all of our partners, the results of the review once completed.”


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