Tidal faked higher stats for Beyoncé and Kanye West - study

Tidal faked higher stats for Beyoncé and Kanye West - study
Photo credit: AAP

Streaming service Tidal has manipulated the streaming statistics for Beyoncé and Kanye West, according to a study by a Norwegian university.

The rival to Spotify and Apple Music has dismissed the allegations, however, calling the study "smear campaign".

Data analysis of Tidal by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) found "several hundred million" false plays for the albums The Life of Pablo and Lemonade.

Norwegian newspaper Dagens Næringsliv contacted subscribers who'd been caught up in the scandal, one of whom Tidal claimed had played The Life of Pablo 96 times in one day, including 54 plays in the middle of the night.

The subscriber said that would be "physically impossible".

Another user had apparently streamed Lemonade, a 46-minute album, 180 times in a single day. That would add up to 8820 minutes of streaming, when there are only 1440 minutes in 24 hours, Engadget reports.

These users were only two of 1.7 million subscribers whose accounts were allegedly used to manipulate the streaming statistics.

The data also showed users who were playing multiple songs at once on Tidal and were looped to play precise intervals right down to the millisecond.

"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 NTNU report said.

The artificially inflated number of plays meant the artists made millions through higher royalty payments to their record labels, however Tidal has denied the allegations.

A spokesperson told Dagens Næringsliv the article and report were a "smear campaign".

"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," said the Tidal spokesperson.