Executives at Jay-Z’s music streaming company Tidal have denied they inflated streaming figures for albums by Kanye West and Beyonce.
Norwegian newspaper Dagens Naeringsliv accused Tidal of manipulating their streaming data, overpaying royalties for Kanye’sThe Life of Pablo and Jay’s wife Beyonce’s 2016 record Lemonade
According to reports, Tidal paid Beyonce’s label Sony Music $2.5 million for streams from April and May 2016.
Kanye’s label Universal Music Group were apparently handed $3 million for plays that February and March.
In a statement, a Tidal representative denied the accusation, claiming it was a smear and that the newspaper had previously published false stories about Tidal’s chief operating officer Lior Tibon.
“This is a smear campaign from a publication that once referred to our employee (chief operating officer Lior Tibon) as an ‘Israeli intelligence officer’ and our owner as a ‘crack dealer’,” a statement issued by the company to the BBC read.”We expect nothing less from them than this ridiculous story, lies and falsehoods.”
Jay, real name Shawn Carter, part-owns Tidal and relaunched the already established streaming service in 2015 with a star-studded event in New York City.
Kanye, who is an old friend of his fellow rapper, and Beyonce debuted their albums on Tidal exclusively the following year.
DN editors obtained company data from a hard drive and enlisted researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology to study the information to see if it tallied with payments made to the pair’s respective record labels.
Tidal’s representatives claim the data has been “stolen” and “manipulated” – but newspaper chiefs have refused to retract their allegations.
Amund Djuve, DN’s editor-in-chief, responded to the company’s denial by saying his reporters had been trying to get the company to comment since February and accused the firm’s lawyers of falsely claiming the data had been manipulated by them.
A spokesman for the university, who has published a full report into the matter, said they stood by their analysis, but could not determine who had manipulated the data.