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Norway Ends 'Tidal' Streaming Probe

FILE -Beyonce arrives at TIDAL X: 1020 Amplified by HTC at the Barclays Center in New York. Beyonce released "Formation" on Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016 as a download on the streaming service, Tidal, which she co-owns with husband Jay Z, Rihanna and other artists. Taken Oct. 20, 2015.

OSLO — Norwegian police said Tuesday they were dropping charges against streaming platform Tidal, accused of manipulating its streaming statistics to benefit artists Kanye West and Beyonce.

Several associations representing Norwegian artists and musicians had filed complaints against streaming service Tidal after Norwegian financial daily Dagens Naeringsliv (DN) claimed the platform had inflated statistics from West's album "The Life of Pablo" and Beyonce's "Lemonade" in 2016.

After almost five years of investigation, the Norwegian police's financial crimes unit Okokrim said the evidence was "insufficient" to press formal charges.

"Based on an overall assessment, Okokrim has found the evidence to be insufficient to continue the investigation," Okokrim senior public prosecutor Elisabeth Harbo-Lervik said in a statement.

"In order to bring charges, the prosecution must be convinced that criminal liability can be proven in court beyond any reasonable doubt," she added.

Tidal at the time belonged to rap mogul Jay-Z, who had acquired it for $56 million in 2015. The false play counts would have enabled excessive royalty payouts to Jay-Z's wife Beyonce and his former protege Kanye West.

The platform has always denied DN's allegations.

Okokrim opened an inquiry at the end of 2018, which was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, which slowed the sending from abroad of key documentation related to the case.

Based on an analysis provided by the Norwegian Center for Cyber and Information Security (CCIS), DN reported more than 320 million false plays of songs from the two albums over short periods, following manipulations of Tidal users' logs.

Jay-Z ceded control of Tidal in 2021 to digital payment group Square (now known as Block), headed by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey.