Vice News has piggybacked on the reporting of Norwegian newspaper Dagens Næringsliv and has found more evidence that Tidal massively inflated the streaming numbers of Kanye West's album The Life Of Pablo and Beyonce's album Lemonade.
JAY-Z's streaming service had claimed that TLOP was streamed 250 million times in its first 10 days of release in February 2016. At the time, TIDAL said they had three million total subscribers, with independent analysts putting that number closer to one million. Even using TIDAL's subscription numbers, that would have meant every subscriber played TLOP an average of eight times per day.
They also claimed Lemonade was streamed 306 million times in its first 15 days of release in April 2016.
Earlier this year, Dagens Næringsliv was able to get hold of a hard drive which suggested Tidal was massively manipulating streams in Kanye and Beyonce's favor.
As part of their own investigation, Vice contacted Tidal user Jeremy Simmons. Tidal's data showed that Simmons streamed Beyonce's album Lemonade 18 hours during one day in April.
There's no way. I love Beyonce. But 18 hours ... no," Simmons said when confronted with the data.
Inflating play numbers is nothing new. It's been done before Tidal and will be done again.
But the way Tidal is alleged to have done it is particularly nefarious and fraudulent. Since Tidal pays their artists based on their percentage of Tidal's total steams, the money that went to Beyonce and Kanye -- JAY-Z's wife and (at the time) close friend -- came directly out of the pocket of other artists.
For that reason, there are criminal probes against Tidal in several Scandinavian countries.
Tidal has denied all charges and say they are the victim of a smear campaign.