Bey at Rose Bowl Sunday night (photo by Mason Poole posted on beyonce.com)


Beyoncé’s Lemonade has been available to stream exclusively on Tidal since its release three weeks ago. According to The New York Times, songs from the album have been streamed 306 million times. Industry insiders are once again questioning the legitimacy of these claims, much as they did when Tidal reported 250m streams of Kanye West's The Life of Pablo in its first 10 days on the service. Let's look at the math and see if it makes sense.

Tidal claims to have gained 1.2m new subscribers (both paid and trial) since Lemonade's release. Assuming a small amount of churn in their previously announced 3 million users, that would give Tidal somewhere around 4m current subs.

We'll divide the claimed 306m streams by 4m users. That gets us to about 77 total song streams per user. Looking at Lemonade’s first 21 days, that results in under four song streams per day, per user. There are 12 tracks on the album. 306m total streams divided by 12 tracks is 25.5m, or slightly more than the equivalent of six album streams per user.

If we haven't lost you yet, that works out to each Tidal subscriber listening to approximately one-third of Lemonade per day over a three-week period. Clearly, there were users listening to the entire album over and over, as the Beyhive is nothing if not totally devoted. That more than makes up for any Tidal subscribers who may not have listened to the album, or only listened once or twice (gasp!).

Furthermore, Tidal has secured a number of high-profile, superstar R&B/rap exclusives in the past few months (including West and Rihanna), giving it an advantage among urban listeners.

Finally, a song must only be streamed for 30 seconds in order to be eligible for charting, and right holders are paid at 20 seconds and above. Some of Lemonade’s 306m streams could be listeners just sampling tracks from the album.

As such, and after carefully considering the above, we find Tidal’s claim of 306m song streams to be highly credible.