It is certainly not a great time for Tidal’s management team – especially after a comprehensive report in Norwegian Newspaper Dagens Næringsliv was published claiming that the streaming service has falsely inflated its subscriber totals in the past.
The paper claims that in September 2015, when Jay Z tweeted that Tidal had reached 1,000,000 subscribers, the service was paying labels for 350,000 subscribers.
Then a month after Tidal revealed in a press release that it had 3 million members, it was paying labels for about 850,000 subscribers.
The newspaper piece then goes on to claim that the service hit around 1.1 million subscribers (according to label payments) by October 2016. Which according to a study by MIDia is just about right.
In MIDia Research’s end-of-year analysis published earlier this month, it was calculated that Tidal accounted for around one million of the 100.4 million global music-streaming subscribers.
According to MIDia’s Mark Mulligan as quoted on Dagens Næringsliv, Tidal has “seeded the marketplace with numbers that cleverly lack precise definitions – and so can be easily misreported.”
Media misdirection is far from the most serious offence Tidal could have committed: the accuracy of the subscriber figures used to pay labels is the most important thing here from a legal standpoint – and an aspect to Tidal’s relationship with the music industry that will come back to haunt it very quickly in the event of any delay in reporting and/or payments. Read more…
Concerns about Tidal’s public figures are coming at the worst possible time. Tidal should be courting potential suitors rather than spending time defending itself.