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Jay Z’s Tidal Streaming Service May Have Inflated Subscriber Numbers (Report)

Jay Z’s music streaming service Tidal has been repeatedly over-reporting the number of its paying subscribers, according to a report from the Norwegian newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (hat tip to The Verge). The service had 1.2 million activated accounts and 850,000 paying subscribers in early 2016, the paper reported after reviewing documents Tidal shared with record labels, which is far less than the 3 million subscribers it claimed in March.

In September of 2015, Tidal had only 350,00 subscribers, according to the report, despite a tweet from owner Jay Z that claimed “1,000,000 people and counting.” A Tidal spokesperson didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from Variety.

Tidal attributed much of its past growth to a series of exclusive releases, which included records from Rihanna and Kanye West. However, it’s unclear how loyal these subscribers have been, or whether they just signed up briefly, only to return to Spotify and other services soon after.

Tidal had acknowledged issues with its user counts in the past, claiming that its previous owners had misrepresented these numbers when they sold the service to Jay Z in early 2015. In March Tidal said that it had “served legal notice to parties involved in the sale.” However, Dagens Næringslivsaid that Tidal never actually sued the company’s former owners.

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