AceShowbiz - Executives at Jay-Z's music streaming company Tidal have denied they inflated streaming figures for albums by Kanye West and Beyonce Knowles. Editors at Norway's Dagens Naeringsliv (DN) newspaper published a story alleging Tidal's data was manipulated, which resulted in the company, based in Sweden, overpaying royalties for Kanye's "The Life of Pablo" and Jay's wife Beyonce's 2016 record "Lemonade".
In a statement, a company 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.
Beyonce's label Sony Music reportedly received $2.5 million for streams from April and May 2016, while Kanye's Universal Music Group were apparently handed $3 million for plays that February and March - sums the newspaper reports were excessive. DN reporters also spoke to users who claimed that the data documenting their use of the app was inaccurate.
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 have published a full report into the matter, said they stood by their analysis, but could not determine who had manipulated the data.