HITS Daily Double

In the wake of reports from Norwegian publication Dagens Næringsliv alleging manipulation of stream numbers, Tidal has hit back.

First came an official statement, published by multiple outlets.

“This is a smear campaign from a publication that once referred to our employee as an ‘Israeli Intelligence officer’ and our owner as a ‘crack dealer,’” it reads, referring to a January 2017 report in which Dagens Næringsliv hurled these epithets at Jay-Z and Roc Nation executive Lior Tibon. “We expect nothing less from them than this ridiculous story, lies and falsehoods. The information was stolen and manipulated and we will fight these claims vigorously.”

Norway, of course, was the home of Aspiro AB, the company that sold Jay-Z the tech and assets that became Tidal. Two years ago, Jay threatened legal action against the former owners, alleging it had far fewer users than claimed before the sale.

It's not a huge leap, several commentators have already noted, to imagine his Norwegian antagonists may have played a role in the report. What's more, some insiders call the report itself into question—in part because the basis of the data is an "illicit hard drive," the data on which, it's been suggested, could have been manipulated in any number of ways after being stolen.

As for the earlier questions regarding Tidal's reported 250m streams of Kanye West's The Life of Pablo over 10 days, this may depend on whether the alleged streams were single tracks and 20- and 30-second samples. This would make the claimed number more imaginable, particularly as membership increased markedly when Kanye's album was offered as a Tidal exclusive.

Whoever's right, expect this fight to continue for some time.