Jay-Z-backed music streaming service Tidal is investigating a “potential data breach” with the aid of an “independent, third party cyber-security firm” amid reports that the platform manipulated its streaming and subscriber numbers.
Tidal denies such claims, which were recently laid out in a report by Norwegian business paper Dagens Næringsliv, but it appears to be acknowledging the accusation with the hiring of the cyber-security firm. In a statement to Music Business Worldwide, Tidal CEO Richard Sanders said: “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,” Sanders added.
Dagens Næringsliv initially reported that streams of Beyoncé and Kanye West‘s 2016 albums — Lemonade and The Life of Pablo — were inflated to generate increased royalty payouts at the expense of other artists. The report claims Tidal manipulated “several hundred million false plays,” citing the the uncovering of a hard drive that “contains ‘billions of rows of [internal TIDAL data]: times and song titles, user IDs and country codes.”
Tidal did not immediately respond to Fortune‘s request for comment, but it told Variety: “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.”