Spotify just went after fake artists and their fake streams.

If you read yesterday’s story, you’ll know that fake artists are racking up all kinds of cash from Spotify streams with dubious origins. The artists don’t seem to exist. They have no websites, no label information, never play gigs, and can’t be tracked down through any of the normal online resources. Yet they somehow make it onto playlists where they end up with thousands and thousands of listens.

In other cases, a legitimate release by a real artist is posted under a fake name. I refer you to this story on an imaginary artist named Latesha Escalero. Whoever is behind that name tried to scam people by posting Van Morrison’s 2016 album, Keep Me Singing, under that name. Bastards.

Spotify knows this is a problem. They mentioned the issue in their last annual report.

“We have in the past been, and continue to be, impacted by attempts by third parties to artificially manipulate stream counts. Such attempts may, for example, be designed to generate revenue for rights holders or to influence placement of content on Spotify-created playlists or industry music charts.”

They also vowed to crack down on the problem.

So where are these fake artists coming from? Germany, for one. Yesterday (March 3), the International Federation for the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) got an injunction in Berlin to go after Followerschmiede.de, which they have designated as a “stream manipulation site.”

According the press release (reported by MBW), “The injunction orders the Germany-based Followerschmiede.de, which creates “plays” on a digital service provider that do not represent the actual consumption of music by a genuine consumer, to discontinue that activity.”

And which digital service provider do they mean? Probably Spotify.

Read more here.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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