Update: On Monday, January 14, a Tidal representative denied that the streaming service is under investigation by Norwegian authorities for inflating streaming numbers, telling Complex, “Tidal is not a suspect in the investigation. We are communicating with Økokrim. From the very beginning, [Norwegian newspaper Dagens Næringsliv] has quoted documents that they have not shared with us in spite of repeated requests. DN has repeatedly made claims based on information we believe may be falsified. We are aware that at least one person we suspected of theft has been questioned. We cannot comment further at this time and refer to our previous statement, which still stands.”
Norwegian authorities have officially opened an investigation into Jay-Z’s Tidal streaming service over accusations that the company has falsely inflated streaming numbers for specific artists. Norwegian newspaper Dagens Næringsliv originally reported the potential fraud in spring last year, alleging that Tidal manipulated streams for albums from Beyonce and Kanye West in order to generate “massive royalty payouts at the expense of other artists.”
Now, Bloomberg reports that the Norwegian Authority For Investigation Of Economic And Environmental Crime (Okokrim) is investigating claims of potential loss of income from Norwegian artist associations. Okokrim Attorney Elisabeth Harbo-Lervik remarked, “It has been made known through media coverage that the reports relate to Tidal’s streaming service and a suspicion that someone has manipulated the number of plays of some songs.”
Meanwhile, this isn’t the first time Tidal has had to contend with iffy data practices. In 2017, Prince’s estate alleged that Tidal had falsified documentation in order to short the estate on royalty payments from Prince’s catalog — then only available on Tidal. Meanwhile, Jay himself accused Tidal’s original owners of inflating subscriber numbers in order to make the property look more attractive; Jay himself was accused of doing the same thing a year later after reporting that the service had reached 3 million subscribers.