Jay-Z's Tidal Is Threatening To Sue Norwegian Technology University
Norwegian business newspaper DN or Dagens Næringsliv have conducted a year-long research endeavor in collaboration with one of Norway's top technology universities, NTNU, and their Center for Cyber and Security (CCIS), into the suspiciously high streaming numbers for Beyonce's Lemonade album and Kanye West's Life Of Pablo. The immediate numbers show that Lemonade has been streamed 306 million times, while Life Of Pablo has been streamed 250 million times. CCIS analysis shows that several methods were applied to enhance play counts at specific times for those two albums. For The Life Of Pablo TIDAL is accused of duplicating plays for over 1 million users, while for Lemonade the methods used are more complicated, but are consistent with automated behavior.
The worst part of this story, if it is true, is how it will affect the other artists on the TIDAL platform, essentially stealing their royalty payments from them and giving them to Kanye West's and Beyonce's record labels. According to reports by TIDAL, the company paid Beyoncé’s label Sony $2.5 million for Lemonade and paid West’s label Universal €2 million for The Life of Pablo. How much of that $4.5 million should have gone to other artists?
This evidence the DN newspaper is presenting seems to be solid as they are basing this claim on data contained within a hard drive they obtained that “contains ‘billions of rows of [internal TIDAL data]: times and song titles, user IDs and country codes.” TIDAL, of course, has disputed the information on the hard drive, but the paper asserts that the data matches the information received by the labels for that time period.
TIDAL and Jay-Z legal team are amounting all this to a "witchhunt", calling the story and its accompanying studies "a smear campaign", full of "lies and falsehoods". Jay-Z and TIDALS best media defense now is to try and smear the DN by citing quotes from DN's original article from one year ago where they mentioned that Jay-Z was a former crack dealer and that Tidal COO executive Lior Tibon was a former Israeli intelligence officer, both of which are true, but TIDAL will try to use that to try to discredit the research that was done and amount it to a smear campaign aimed at destroying TIDAL's reputation.
TIDAL is threatening Norwegian University
DN hired a group at NTNU's Center for Cyber and Information Security (CCIS) to analyze the logs that show when Tidal's customers supposedly listened to a song. Now Tidal is threatening to sue NTNU if they do not pull back the rapport.
When Tidal, who also have a office in Oslo, Norway, saw the rapport from NTNU, their lawyers then sent out demands to multiple leaders at the University that the rapport had to be pulled.
"It's not up to us to pull anything. We stand behind our findings", says Nils Kalstad Svendsen, leader at NTNU's Center for Cyber and Information Security.
It appears that times are rough for the former Roc-A-Fella CEO as he is purportedly also currently under investigation by the SEC.