Tidal Rides Good-Bad News Wave

A Sprint investment here, accusations of membership rigging there.

Today, the news is good. Per an announcement this morning by Sprint, the telecommunications carrier has acquired a 33% stake in Jay Z‘s music streaming platform Tidal. Sprint will offer that content to its users as well as present special incentives at the other end to Tidal subscribers. As part of the deal, Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure will join Tidal’s Board of Directors:

“Jay saw not only a business need, but a cultural one, and put his heart and grit into building TIDAL into a world-class music streaming platform that is unrivaled in quality and content,” said Claure. “The passion and dedication that these artist-owners bring to fans will enable Sprint to offer new and existing customers access to exclusive content and entertainment experiences in a way no other service can.”

Today’s announcement comes on the heels of a less flattering investigation by Norwegian publication Dagens Naeringsliv. As picked up and translated by Digital Music News, the investigative piece suggests Tidal last year was guilty of falsely inflating its subscriber ranks:

‘On March 30 of last year, Tidal issued a press release stating that the company had reached ‘three million members,’ the Dagens Naeringsliv report states. ‘The news story reported worldwide was that Tidal had three million paying subscribers. Tidal also specified to The Verge that this figure did not include trial subscribers. This was the last time Tidal reported a total number of subscribers to the public.”

The only problem with that? ‘In April 2016, one month after the press release issued by the company claiming three million members, Tidal made payments to the record labels for around 850,000 subscribers. The figure reported internally by Tidal in April is 1.2 million subscribers.’

Screen grab via: tidal.com