Under-fire streaming platform TIDAL has announced that it has enlisted an “independent, third party cyber-security firm” to investigate a potential data breach at the company.
Its reason for doing so, however, is slightly confusing: the platform strongly denies claims recently made by Norwegian financial newspaper Dagens Næringsliv, which suggest that the accounts of TIDAL subscribers were manipulated in 2016 to falsely bulk up streaming numbers allocated to Kanye West’s The Life Of Pablo and Beyoncé’s Lemonade.
And yet, in a statement issued today (May 18) which clearly relates to that accusation, TIDAL comments “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”.
TIDAL CEO Richard Sanders says: “We reject and deny the claims that have been made by Dagens Næringsliv. 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.
“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.
“When we learned of a potential data breach we immediately, and aggressively, began pursuing multiple avenues available to uncover what occurred… we have engaged an independent, third party cyber-security firm to conduct a review of what happened.”
Richard Sanders, TIDAL
“Additionally, we have engaged an independent, third party cyber-security firm to conduct a review of what happened and help us further protect the security and integrity of our data. We are proud of the hard work, devotion to our artist driven mission, and tremendous accomplishments of our over one hundred employees in Norway and fifty more in the United States.
“We look forward to sharing with them, and all of our partners, the results of the review once completed.”
In its initial report, DN wrote: ‘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 cited evidence contained on a hard drive which it said contains ‘billions of rows of [internal TIDAL data]: times and song titles, user IDs and country codes’, in addition to a forensic report of this data from the Center for Cyber and Information Security (CCIS) at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.
Since then Norwegian collection society Tono, which represents around 30,000 songwriters, has filed an official police complaint against TIDAL, encouraging the authorities to look into the claims of streaming manipulation.
Earlier this week, DN cited multiple sources who accused TIDAL of being late with its royalty payments to major and independent record labels.
The most recently available public accounts for TIDAL’s parent company, Project Panther Bidco Ltd, show that the firm lost $42.9m in 2016.
Last year, however, TIDAL sold a 33% stake in its business to US telco Sprint for approximately $200m.Music Business Worldwide