Tidal’s Ego Inflates Beyoncé and Kanye West’s Album Streams

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  • Tidal claims to have 3 million subscribers
  • There are more than 100 million music streaming industry subscribers

Streaming platform Tidal is under fire for allegedly exaggerating album plays for Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” and Kanye West’s “The Life of Pablo.” Is the company out of its league when it comes to fending off major streaming competitors?

Why This Matters: Tidal markets itself as a “more equitable [business] model for artists” to make money while streaming their music. If the reports are proven to be true, this would mean it overpaid royalties to the Grammy Award-winners at the expense of others on the platform. Tidal denied the allegations and in a note to Variety said that the claims were no more than “a smear campaign.”

Norwegian newspaper Dagens Næringsliv reportedly helmed the year long investigation after Tidal announced it reached 3 million subscribers. The artist-owned platform simultaneously stated that West’s TLOP was played 250 million times during its first ten days. The company also made similar claims with Beyoncé’s “Lemonade,” saying it was streamed 306 million in its first 15 days. The streams to subscribers ratio didn’t add up to Dagens Næringsliv. Also, industry firm Midia Research also challenged Tidal’s three million subscribers claim, estimating the company actually had closer to one million members.

Situational Awareness: Tidal has a huge uphill battle in the music streaming sector. Right now the streaming industry boasts of more than 100 million subscribers, this leave’s Tidal with nearly one percent of the market share. Meanwhile, the largest players in the space like Spotify (SPOT +2.04%) have 75 million paid subscribers and Apple Music (AAPL -0.23%) has 40 million. Notably, both companies offer lower price tiers than Tidal. During its first quarter as a publicly traded company Spotify reported revenue of nearly $1.5 billion.

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