UPDATED: Tidal has been accused of intentionally falsifying streaming numbers for Beyonce’s “Lemonade” and Kanye West’s “Life of Pablo” albums and consequently paying inflated royalties to the artists’ labels, in a report by Norwegian newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (via Music Business Worldwide). The paper has accused Tidal, which is primarily owned by Beyonce’s husband Jay-Z, of inflating its subscriber numbers in the past, claims the company has denied; in a statement to Variety, it also denied the latest accusations.
Tidal, which has rarely shared its data publicly, had a streaming exclusive on West’s album for its first six weeks of release and continues to be the exclusive streamer for Beyonce’s album. It claimed that West’s album had been streamed 250 million times in its first 10 days of release in February of 2016, while claiming it had just 3 million subscribers — a claim that would have meant every subscriber played the album an average of eight times per day; and that Beyonce’s album was streamed 306 million times in its first 15 days of release in April of 2016.
These claims led the Norwegian paper to investigate the service’s numbers and report that it was intentionally inflating its subscriber count, a report supported by research from British firm Midia, which estimated that Tidal’s total number of subscribers was closer to 1 million globally.
Today’s report, according to MBW’s translation, says that “Beyoncé’s and Kanye West’s listener numbers on Tidal have been manipulated to the tune of several hundred million false plays… which has generated massive royalty payouts at the expense of other artists.” It bases this claim on data contained within a hard drive it obtained that “contains ‘billions of rows of [internal TIDAL data]: times and song titles, user IDs and country codes.” Tidal has disputed the information on the hard drive, but the paper asserts that it matches information received by labels for the time period.
In a statement provided to Variety, Tidal responded: “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.’ 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.” The quotes reference descriptions of Jay-Z and Tidal COO/Roc Nation executive Lior Tibon in a previous Dagens Næringsliv article, which were technically accurate at one time but are decades out of date.
The paper supported its findings with data from NTNU – the Norwegian University of Science and Technology – which it says has “assembled some of Norway’s leading experts in data security and cybercrime prevention.” Its report reads in part, “Using advanced statistical analysis of the data provided by DN, NTNU determined that there had in fact been a manipulation of the data at particular times due to the large presence of similar duplicate records occurring for a large percentage of the userbase that was active at any given time. In reviewing the data, in isolation from any other records or logs, it was not possible to determine the exact means of manipulation; however, the absence of records with unreadable data suggested it was not an external Structured Query Language Injection (SQLi) vector based attacked, but rather manipulation from within the streaming service itself. Due to the targeted nature and extent of the manipulation, it is very unlikely that this manipulation was solely the result of a code based bug or other system anomaly. The following analysis shows in detail why this conclusion is the most likely conclusion and further, the nature and extent it is suspected that the manipulation has affected the accuracy of the data … The manipulation appears targeted towards a very specific set of track IDs, related to two distinct albums,” “Pablo” and “Lemonade.” The report can be viewed here.
Additionally, the paper contacted several Tidal users and presented them with logs of their individual play counts taken from the hard drive, which said one user played tracks from “Lemonade” 180 times in 24 hours. “No, that can’t be right,” the user, Tiare Faatea in Washington, DC, said.
According to the paper, Tidal paid Beyonce’s label Sony more than $4 million for April and May of 2016, of which “Lemonade” accounted for $2.5 million; it also paid West’s label Universal 3.2 million euros, 2 million for “Pablo.”
The paper says Tidal has strongly denied “manipulating streaming figures or tampering with royalty payments,” adding that “The lawyers claim that NTNU’s report is based on false assumptions. TIDAL believes that the data the report is based on is stolen, incomplete for the relevant periods, that DN has changed the data and has lied to NTNU about the origin and content of the data.” The company’s lawyer at Reed Smith, Jordan Siev, is quoted as saying: “As each of these assumptions is demonstrably false, you and DN lied to NTNU to procure a study”.
Reps for Beyonce, West, Sony and Universal either declined or did not immediately respond to Variety’s request for comment.
Warning to the buyers of Twitter, Yahoo, Google and Facebook!!!
You are buying a grave-yard with nobody in it and most of the world absolutely hates those brands!
Most of the people on those sites are fake computer generated puppet-bots created to trick advertisers into paying big invoices. There is, literally, nobody worth marketing left on Twitter, Yahoo, Google and Facebook. Only the most stupid and ill-informed people still use them and they can be pulled away from them with a single Tweet telling them how dumb they are.
So the “nobody is home” fake users issue is big. Twitter, Yahoo, Google and Facebook will lie their heads off to try to hang onto their stock value. They will say that the users are really real but you are a sucker if you bite that apple after seeing all of the recent reports on the ghosts of Google.
The next part is the sucker play that will hurt the longest and the hardest.
While everybody on University Avenue in Palo Alto, California thinks that the dot.com era is alive and leaping into the heavens in unstoppable glory, the reality is that Silicon Valley is a bubble of delusion. Everybody outside of Silicon Valley thinks that Twitter, Yahoo, Google and Facebook suck. The real world sees them as media manipulation tools who spy on the public for the NSA.
The real world hates those companies.
million Facebook accounts are fakes and dupes and FACEBOOK knows
it and uses them to trick advertisers
By Heather Kelly, CNN
Facebook profiles for non-humans, such as companies or pets, violate the social network's terms of service.
Fake and duplicate profiles and spam accounts make up 8.7% of Facebook active pages
Facebook is always looking for and disabling these types of accounts
Some 14.3 million undesirable accounts have been created for purposes like spammingIf you're using a fake name on your Facebook account, maintaining a personal profile for your beloved pet or have a second profile you use just for logging in to other sites, you have one of the 83.09 million fake accounts Facebook wants to disable.
In an updated regulatory filing released Wednesday, the social media company said that 8.7 percent of its 955 million monthly active users worldwide are actually duplicate or false accounts.
"On Facebook we have a really large commitment in general to finding and disabling false accounts," Facebook's chief security officer Joe Sullivan told CNN in a recent interview. "Our entire platform is based on people using their real identities."
So what are those 83 million undesired accounts doing? They're a mixture of innocent and malicious, and Facebook has divvied them up into three categories: duplicate accounts, misclassified accounts and "undesirable" accounts.