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Tidal may be doing even worse than you thought

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Ever since Tidal was taken over by Jay Z in 2015, the music streaming service has tried to make its mark with big names, unique features, and a larger-than-life attitude.

However, it appears Tidal may have also padded its numbers to be a little larger than real life, according to a report from Norwegian newspaper Dagens Næringsliv.

The paper alleges it found internal documents saying Tidal only had 350,000 subscribers in September 2015 - a time when Jay Z himself said the service had broken a million users (opens in new tab).

The report also claims Tidal only counted 1.2 million users (850,000 of whom were subscribed to a premium tier) in March 2016. Tidal claimed it had 3 million subscribers at the time, as reported by Billboard (opens in new tab).

Tidal's user numbers have always been a cloudy subject: Jay Z actually readied a lawsuit against Tidal's original owners in March, following similar reports of inflated numbers used to sell the company. That lawsuit has seemingly not yet materialized, according to The Verge (opens in new tab).

Turning the Tidal

It's worth noting the term "subscribers" could either describe users that sign up for the service or those who've actually dropped money on one of Tidal's premium subscriptions. This lack of clarification could explain the discrepancy between Tidal's numbers and Dagens Næringsliv's report, though it's unlikely.

We've asked Tidal for comment as well as specifics on its past and present stats, and will update this story if any details are provided.

Boosted or not, Tidal's reported numbers are still a distant competitor to its two biggest peers, with Apple Music hosting approximately 20 million paying subscribers (opens in new tab) and Spotify boasting an impressive 40 million paid subscribers (opens in new tab) as of June 2016.

Parker Wilhelm is a freelance writer for TechRadar. He likes to tinker in Photoshop and talk people's ears off about Persona 4.