Tag Archives: The Life of Pablo

Tidal Suspected of Falsifying Streaming Numbers

It seems Tidal music streaming service continues to have problems. The company has been called out for suspect financials and false claims about the number of subscribers, among other issues. Now it seems that Tidal may be falsifying the number of downloads for two of its biggest stars.

According to the Swedish newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) Tidal has misrepresented the amount of plays Beyoncé’s Lemonade and Kanye West’s The Life of Pablo had by “several hundred million” false plays. More plays means more money for the two artists one of which is married to Tidal’s owner JayZ.  

DN reported receiving a hard drive filled with play data from Tidal that included play times, song titles, user IDs and country codes. DN asked the Norwegian University of Science and Technology for a data analysis. In the published executive summary, the school claims “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 user base that was active at any given time.”

Three Tidal subscribers were contacted by DN about data that said they played the albums. The records showed that one subscriber played The Life of Pablo 96 times in a single day, 54 plays occurred in the middle of the night. According to the subscriber that would’ve been “physically impossible.”

Another Tidal subscriber was shown to have streamed Beyoncé’s 46-minute album 180 times in 24 hours. That claim was also denied. Just doing the math reveals that would add up to nearly 8,280 minutes. There are only 1,440 minutes in 24 hours.

Tidal has challenged the validity of the data on the hard drive. But according to DN, the data matches exactly with information Tidal sent to record labels.

According to the university, given the nature of the manipulation, its not likely this was an outside attack or a bug in the software code but rather internal meddling. Tidal is accused of accessing subscriber accounts to play tracks of The Life of Pablo over 150 million times. According to the report the plays occurred at exactly the same times; 2am and 5am. Beyonce’s Lemonade was also streamed at the same second and millisecond.

The result of this alleged manipulation comes down to money. Payouts to Sony added up to $4 million between April and May 2016. Lemonade, released in April of 2016, accounted for $2.5 million of that. Tidal reportedly paid Universal nearly $3 million between February and March 2016. The Life of Pablo accounted for $2.4 million. But, again, more play equals more money for the artists.

In response Tidal denies any wrongdoing. A Tidal spokesperson said DN’s article was a “smear campaign,” adding that, “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.”

 

 

Celebrity Cyber Report – JayZ, Kanye West and Tidal Music Streaming

JayZ continues to show that he still is a hip-hop force and businessman to be reckoned with. The rapper/businessman’s most recent release, 4:44, has gone platinum in less than a week. JayZ’s album was released on his Tidal music streaming service last week via the link 444.tidal.com.  JayZ’s partner and co-owner Sprint also released the album exclusively to Sprint customers.

But is this news real or fake? According to SPIN.com and Billboard.com all may not be as it appears. According to these industry websites Sprint may have played a role in the achievement by giving away the album for free. But a sale is a sale according to an RIAA spokesperson who said that “sales count toward certification if it’s either purchased by an individual or a business that purchases the release and offers it to customers.” So the bottom line seems to be that the album did achieve platinum status but not as a result of direct sales to fans. Either way it is considered a platinum album. This is not the first time that JayZ has used business smarts to achieve a platinum album. JayZ sold the first one million copies of his 2013Magna Carta Holy Grail” album to Samsung. Samsung, like Sprint, offered the album free to its customers. And for the record this is JayZ’s 17th platinum album more than any other hip-hop artist.

But even with this good news it seems that all is not well in JayZ’s world. Even though the album went platinum in days many fans were left out of the frenzy. New subscribers to Tidal were not permitted to download the album as they expected. According to Variety.com the album was only available to current Tidal subscribers and Sprint customers. It took 72 hours but the so called “glitch” was fixed and new subscribers were able to download the album.

Now, his friend and fellow hip-hop legend Kanye West  is not happy with Tidal. Reports have surfaced that Kanye maybe leaving the music streaming service due to a money dispute. TMZ reported that Kanye has terminated his contract with Tidal.

According to Kanye West Jay Z’s streaming service owes him almost $3 million and is in breach of contract. Kanye’s lawyer says he out but Tidal is refusing to recognize that termination and has threatened to sue.

Kanye joined Tidal after its 2015 launch making him one of the first artists to do so. The 2016 albumThe Life of Pablo” was released exclusively on Tidal. The album was the first ever to go platinum through streaming alone. According to West the release brought Tidal 1.5 million new subscribers. According to TMZ that number was supposed to come with a nice bonus check. West is apparently still waiting. West also claims Tidal failed to pay up for exclusive music videos. According to Tidal Kanye never produced the videos. Kanye says he will provide the videos when he is paid what he is owed. And so and so on.

Celebrity Cyber Report – Beyonce, Jay-Z

beyonce-22Black artists and athletes are all seeing the value of technology. Beyonce, the ‘Queen Bee’ herself has jumped into the technology investment game. But Beyonce is showing her smarts when it comes to the tech game. Miss Bee and her management company, Parkwood Entertainment, dropped $150,000 on Sidestep, the company that created an app that lets music fans purchase those concert t-shirts and other merchandise and pick it up without waiting in line.

Beyonce and her business people understand that concert souvenirs bring in a nice chunk of change. Anyway you look at it for a superstar like Beyonce  this is a smart move. The Sidestep app started selling t-shirts and posters for Beyoncé’s current world tour. Apparently the purchasing app must’ve performed pretty well since Beyonce invested in the company a mere two weeks. Beyonce is also invested in her husbands Jay-Z’s  music streaming service  Tidal.

You can download the app for Apple devices here. Click here for Android.

tidal-share.239a2bdcSpeaking of Jay-Z and Tidal things are not so smooth over there. According to an Esquire.com report the music service has been nothing but disappointing. Tidal was supposed to be the standard in high fidelity music streaming with a nice share of the money going to the artists. At least that was the original idea. And plenty of artists and music fans jumped on board. But according to reports Tidal has become known for slow download times and little if any increase in the sound quality for too much money. Complaints have surfaced that Tidal has been luring in listeners by promising a complimentary trial subscription then making it difficult if not impossible to cancel the  subscription before it automatically starts charging.  Tidal has also been stringing users along with some shady tactics like Kanye’s  Life of Pablo album release. The rapper updated The Life of Pablo with new songs right as the 30-day free trial ended.

But the news gets worse. Tidal has made some decent moves with people like having his wife Beyonce and buddy Kanye onboard but there is still the problem of money. Tidal is losing it big time!

 According to the Wall Street Journal Tidal lost $28 million last year as reported by the streaming service’s Aspiro AB holding company. That’s down another $17.4 million more over 2014. The WSJ reports that Tidal is struggling to pay its bills owing roughly $438,000 to about 100 record labels and is lacking enough on hand capital to make it through 2016. The bottom line is, Tidal bleeding to death…slowly.

 

Celebrity Cyber Report – Beyonce

beyonce-lemonade-stream-1It’s always big news when Beyonce is involved. The mega star and wife of Jay-Z released her new album, Lemonade, originally thought to be exclusively on Tidal. That didn’t last long.

Lemonade hit the Internet minutes after Beyonce’s HBO special of the same name  aired.  It’s her sixth studio album and first since 2013’s celebrated, Beyonce. Exclusive streaming releases are normally a week long venture for most artists.  The question was; does Tidal have the power to sell her album to her millions of fans?  Let’s not forget that she and hubby own the lion’s share of Tidal. She also had the option of selling it on Beyonce.com or on Tidal’s direct competitor, iTunes.

Well now it seems that the exclusive sales of Lemonade on Tidal is open to all not just Tidal subscribers. Tidal announced the record and the HBO film are now available for download worldwide for $17.99. Those who pick up the album also get 90 days of free streaming from Tidal.  This deal should appeal to Beyonce fans who are understandably hesitant about signing up for Tidal.

However,  according to a  New York Times reports  the album quickly became available on iTunes just 24 hours later. Tidal’s exclusive rights quickly expired but only for the sale of the album. Tidal is still the only place to stream the album. So, back to that question, is Tidal powerful enough to distribute the music of Beyonce exclusively? It does not seem so and Beyonce knows it.

Lets face it; Beyonce is as much a businesswoman as a performer. Tidal’s brief exclusive deal is a direct reflection of the complex, fragmented, tumultuous and generally disliked digital music business.   Beyonce’s power and presence in the music industry is the guide for many in the business. Her decision to offer the release to Tidal makes it possible to satisfy her business interests there and then quickly expand her reach to other fans in the market. It was delicate balancing act but she pulled it off beautifully.

Things are not so smooth at Tidal nor have they ever been. Since Jay-Z acquired the service it has seen numerous departures of top executives, bad business decisions and even lawsuits.  Right now Kanye West, one of Tidal’s biggest stars, is facing a class action lawsuit. A fan launched the suit claiming that a Kanye  tweet deceived millions into buying subscriptions to Tidal.

The rapper and part owner of Tidal tweeted “My album will never never be on Apple. And it will never be for sale … You can only get it on Tidal.” The announcement doubled subscriptions to Tidal. But it appears West flipped the script and “The Life Of Pablo” became available on Spotify and Apple Music.

According to the lawsuit West’s tweet tricked millions of users into signing up for Tidal. By signing up for the service users surrendered important personal information including email addresses and credit card details. In addition others paid the $9.99 per month subscription fee to access the album. The lawsuit charges that Tidal unfairly benefited to the tune of  $84 million dollars as a result of the deceptive tweet.

Tidal Music Continues to Struggle

tidal-share.239a2bdcTidal music streaming service is still struggling to find its place in the music streaming game. Jay-Z’s baby is taking some serious body blows and its days could be numbered. Tidal has again had to shake up its leadership in the hopes surviving in this hyper competitive market. To make matters worse the company is currently fighting a lawsuit over royalties.

According Norwegian Newspaper Dagens Næringsliv  two of Tidal’s top executives, Chief Operating Officer Nils Juell and Chief Financial Officer Chris Hart have been shown the door.

Jay Z spent $56 million in 2015 to acquire Tidal. Since that time it has seen three CEOs and a host of high-level executives jump ship. After only two months Senior Vice President of Label Relations Zena Burns departed. Then former Chief Investment Officer Vania Schlogel also took a walk.

Inside the company things are getting pretty ugly. Tidal’s was once valued at $250 million. Now that number is about $100 million and Tidal is looking ripe for the picking as some companies are looking to purchase it.

Samsung, the Korean tech giant, has been eyeing Tidal for over a year.  Tidal and Samsung have been been rumored before to be ready to conclude a deal but nothing has happened. According to the New York Post the company is in negotiations to purchase the company again. Samsung has ongoing relationships with several of Tidal’s artists including Rihanna. Samsung spent $28 million to sponsor Rihanna’s new album and tour.

But Samsung is not the only player in the game. Google and Spotify are also eyeing the struggling music service. Tidal, for all its struggles, does have a nice artist collection and potential buyers see them as nice additions to their streaming offerings.

Current CEO Jeff Toig, who came over from struggling Sound Cloud,  has begun laying off staff and consolidating operations in the New York office. Tidal is also facing accusations that it failed to pay out royalties on time resulting in a class action lawsuit. Yesh Music hit Tidal with a $5 million lawsuit claiming the company stiffed them and John Emanuele​, a member of The American Dollar.

Tidal responded in a statement denying any knowledge of Yesh’s complaint. “Tidal is up to date on all royalties for the rights to the music stated in Yesh Music, LLC and John Emanuele’s claim and they are misinformed as to who, if anyone, owes royalty payments to them.”

Tidal has also fumbled the release new music. Critics blasted the company over the botched release of Rihanna’s latest album Anti, and Kanye West’s exclusive launch of his latest release “The Life of Pablo”  on Tidal. The criticism has been so harsh that some say this may go down as the worst release effort in the history of recorded music.

Jay-Z may have bitten off more than he can chew with Tidal. Music streaming is a highly competitive business and Tidal needs to get some traction quick. But that’s not to say the game is over. Jay-Z only paid $56 million for a company now worth $100 million. If he sells it for that much he still comes out a winner.

 

 

Celebrity Cyber Report – Dr. Dre, Kanye West

Dr. Dre

Dre


Word on the street is that
Apple and Dr. Dre are collaborating on a new television series starring the rich and famous NWA alum. The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that Apple is financing a scripted series starring Dr. Dre. and an Apple executive. Entitled “Vital Signs” the series to be released by Apple Music has been described as a “dark semi-autobiographical drama.” THR insiders have revealed that Sam Rockwell and Mo McCrae are among the additional cast.

“Vital Signs” has been described as a dark drama filled with its fair share of with violence and sex. Filming has begun and according to the THR naked extras simulated sex in a mansion in the Bird Streets neighborhood of Los Angeles’ Hollywood Hills.

Apple, known mostly for its computers and iPhones has reportedly been interested in producing original programming for a few years. This interest is sparked by the success of streaming media giants Netflix and Amazon. The original concept for the show is the brainchild of Dre himself and he pitched it to his partner  Jimmy Iovine ‘Vital Signs’ marks Apple’s first serious investment in scripted television and the first season is slated for six episodes produced by Dre.

Dre, who’s government name is Andre Young, is rollin’!  His recent successes include his bio-pic ‘Straight Outta Compton’ which blasted onto the big screen to the tune of $200 million and some how got Suge Knight charged with murder.  In 2015 he also dropped his first album  in 15 years entitled ‘Compton’ As of January it had sold 502,000 copies in the U.S. Oh! And don’t forget Beats by Dr. Dre headphones sold to Apple for $3 billion!

Kanye keeps busy. As if launching a clothing line, a magazine and a new album was not enough it appears he in another dust up relating to Taylor Swift.

Kanye’ s Madison Square Garden concert celebrating the release of his new album ‘The Life of Pablo’ or  T.L.O.P. ignited the controversy.  The album is only available from the Jay-Z’s Tidal music service. One particular cut entitled ‘Famous’ included the line, “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex / I made that bitch famous.”  Some believe it’s a reference to Taylor Swift. Kanye interrupted her at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, remember that? Thank Beyonce for cleaning that mess up. It was thought the two had made peace. But maybe not.

The controversy surrounds the idea that Swift actually had a chance to read the lyrics before Kanye released the song. At least that is what  TMZ is reporting and that she approved it.

According to Kanye  he called Taylor and had a long talk with her about the offending lyric. ” …and she thought it was funny and gave her blessings.” On Twitter Kanye said he can’t take credit for the line. Kanye insists Swift had dinner with a friend of his during which she is supposed to have said; “I can’t be mad at Kanye because he made me famous!”

New York Times’ music critic Jon Caramanica is telling a different story.  According to Caramanica who shared a statement  from Swift’s spokesperson condemning the track. In the statement the representative wrote;  “Kanye did not call for approval, but to ask Taylor to release his single ‘Famous’ on her Twitter account. She declined and cautioned him about releasing a song with such a strong misogynistic message. Taylor was never made aware of the actual lyric, ‘I made that bitch famous.'”

This just the latest ugly skirmish surrounding Kanye’s latest release. He has also been caught up in a  Twitter spat with Wiz Khalifa . West criticized his ex-girlfriend Amber Rose, the model and activist who has a child with Khalifa. In addition he went on the record defending Bill Cosby’s innocence also on Twitter.

Now with all that going on Kanye has also been working on  video game. No, I’m not kidding. According to Thenextweb.com  Kanye showed off a video game he had worked on with the title  ‘Only One.’ According to West, “The idea of the game is, my mom traveling through the gates of heaven.” Told you he was busy and he better stay that way. Kanye tweeted that he is $53 million in debt and pleaded for Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to come to his rescue. Really Kanye? Don’t you have Dre’s number?

Celebrity Cyber Report – Kanye West

Kanye_West_at_the_2009_Tribeca_Film_Festival

Kanye West

Rapper, entrepreneur, magazine publisher and husband to Kim Khardasian, Kanye West is working as hard as ever. West will take over Madison Square Garden to stage a show celebrating the launch both his Yeezy Season 3 clothing line and his new album entitled T.L.O.P. The name was a mystery until E0nline.com revealed that it means “The Life of Pablo.” Now the only question is; who is Pablo?

West will live stream the event on Jay-Z’s  Tidal music service starting at 4:00PM EST Thursday afternoon. The show will be available to both subscribers and non-subscribers. The announcement caught many by surprise since it was believed that the only way to see the show would be to buy a ticket or see the show in a theater.

Tidal music service, an artists owned streaming media company simply refuses to die. It is a testament to Jay-Z’s determination as a business man. Kanye’s  streaming concert, exclusive to Tidal, is the latest success for the struggling company. These recent splashes have been a direct result of the artists who co-own the service.  Sultry  Rihanna launched her new album ANTI on the service two weeks ago, and Beyoncé, Mrs. Shawn Carter, released her new single“Formation” on Tidal just a day before her stunning Super Bowl performance. All this was provided for free to anyone.

Back to Kanye, like many of the brother’s in the hip hop game West is exercising his entrepreneurial interests by also kicking off a magazine or “Zine“as he has labeled it.  West threw a party at a Manhattan parking garage, (that was last night and you missed it!) to celebrate the Zine and his previous fashion collection Yeezy Season 2. After all this the rapper is scheduled to appear on Saturday Night Live on February 13th for his first post-album performance.