Songwriters are fuming and the organization charged with taking care of their rights has now gone to the police, filing a formal complaint over how music streaming platform Tidal has allegedly manipulated its numbers for listening sessions. Not only has that allegedly inflated sessions and payments for top artists linked to Tidal’s owner, hip-hop mogul Jay-Z, it may have reduced payments made to others.
Cato Strøm, the director of the organization for Norwegian songwriters and composers Tono, told newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) that it has filed a complaint with the Norwegian police’s economic crime unit Økokrim. The complaint comes after DN reported on Tidal’s alleged manipulation of 320 million false listening sessions.
Tidal has denied any manipulation of the huge numbers attributed to artists Kanye West and Beyoncé, who’s married to Jay-Z, but has as yet failed to produce evidence to counter that presented in DN from experts at the Norwegian university NTNU. Strøm told DN that Tono also has tried to get answers from Tidal, to address its artists’ concerns, but has been met with silence.
“We’re surprised that Tidal has not come forward and given us an explanation of what came out in DN last week,” Strøm said, adding that DN‘s information “sent shockwaves through the music branch.” Many artists who spread their music via Tidal’s platform have also begun withdrawing it. Another artists’ organization, Gramart, has also demanded an independent audit of Tidal, which is rooted in the former Norwegian streaming service known as Wimp.