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Tidal Under Criminal Investigation In Norway Over ‘Faked’ Streams

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Engadget: High-fidelity music streaming service Tidal is under criminal investigation in Norway for allegedly inflating album streams for Beyonce’s Lemonade and Kanye West’s The Life of Pablo. The alleged faking of streaming numbers was exposed last year by Norwegian newspaper Dagens Naeringsliv (DN), which said it had obtained a hard drive with the tampered data. Around 1.3 million accounts were supposedly used to lift the play counts of said albums by “several hundred million,” with Tidal paying out higher royalty fees to the two artists and their record labels as a result.

In the wake of the report, a Norwegian songwriter’s association known as Tono filed an official police complaint against Tidal. The Jay-Z-owned streaming service denied the accusations and subsequently launched an internal review to be conducted by a third-party cyber security company, which is still ongoing. Today, DN revealed that Norway’s National Authority for Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime (Okokrim) has begun an investigation into data manipulation at Tidal. Though still in its early stages, Okokrim says that at least four former Tidal employees (including its former head of business intelligence — responsible for analyzing streams) have been interrogated in front of a judge as part of the investigation. The quartet have faced a total of 25 hours of questioning thus far. Three former staffers reportedly recognized signs of meddling with the albums and contacted a lawyer before notifying Tidal. “All three individuals resigned from the company in 2016 after signing what a DN source called ‘the gold standard of confidentiality contracts,'” reports Engadget.

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