Tidal Hits Back Against Rumors of Wrongdoing With Its Own Investigation

Music-streaming service rejects allegations that it falsified numbers – but seeks source of data breach

Jay Z performs at The Meadows Music and Arts Festival in New York. Credit: Carl Timpone/BFA/REX Shutterstock

As the list of fraud accusations against Jay-Z’s Tidal lengthens, the music-streaming service is countering with its own investigation – not into the accuracy of its data, but into how that data had been potentially breached.

Norwegian financial newspaper Dagens Næringsliv published an extensive report last week saying it had investigated Tidal’s numbers off an internal hard drive it obtained and accused the service of manipulating streaming data to boost Beyoncé and Kanye West’s latest albums, generating “massive royalty payouts at the expense of other artists.” DN has since leveled other claims, including that Tidal falsified subscriber counts and missed months of payments to record labels.

In a statement provided to Rolling Stone on Friday, Tidal CEO Richard Sanders emphatically rejected DN’s claims – but, in what may appear a bit of a contradiction, said the company is asking an “independent, third party cyber-security firm” to review a potential data breach. “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,” Sanders said.

Tidal last week called DN’s report on streaming numbers a “smear campaign” and a “ridiculous story.” No other comments have been issued by the company, and neither Jay-Z nor any of the other artists who partly own the service – a group that includes Beyoncé and West – have given a response to the allegations.

Tidal CEO Richard Sanders' Statement on Dagens Næringsliv Report

“We reject and deny the claims that have been made by Dagens Næringsliv. 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.

“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. We are proud of the hard work, devotion to our artist driven mission, and tremendous accomplishments of our over one hundred employees in Norway and fifty more in the United States. We look forward to sharing with them, and all of our partners, the results of the review once completed.”