Tidal investigates data breach, denies report it faked streams

A Norwegian newspaper says Tidal inflated streaming numbers for Beyonce and Kanye albums.

Beyonce and Jay-Z onstage at Coachella. Music streaming service Tidal said its investigating a potential data breach after a Norwegian newspaper reported that it had access to the company's internal documents. 
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

Music streaming service Tidal said Friday it's investigating a potential data breach after a Norwegian newspaper said it obtained internal documents from the company. 

The announcement comes as Tidal faces a report from the newspaper that the streaming service manipulated data on the number of plays artists got, altering royalty payments.

"When we learned of a potential data breach we immediately, and aggressively, began pursuing multiple avenues available to uncover what occurred. This included reporting it to proper authorities, pursuing legal action, and proactively taking steps to further strengthen our stringent security measures that are already in place," Tidal CEO Richard Sanders said in a statement. Sanders added that Tidal has brought on a third-party cybersecurity company to investigate the matter.

The newspaper, Dagens Næringsliv, reported earlier in May that internal documents show Tidal manipulated data about play numbers, inflating the ones for artists including Beyonce Knowles and Kanye West. The paper also reported Tidal lowered payments for other artists streaming on the service. 

Tidal denies the allegations. "We reject and deny the claims that have been made by Dagens Næringsliv," Sanders said in his statement. "Although we do not typically comment on stories we believe to be false, we feel it is important to make sure that our artists, employees, and subscribers know that we are not taking the security and integrity of our data lightly, and we will not back down from our commitment to them."

Knowles' husband Jay-Z acquired Tidal's parent company Aspiro in 2015. Representatives for Knowles didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. West didn't immediately respond to a tweet requesting comment.

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