Spotify accused of padding playlists with fake artists to save on royalties

13/07/2017

Music streaming service Spotify has denied filling popular playlists with 'fake artists' in order to save of paying royalties to artists.

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In a list, compiled by Music Business Worldwide (MBW), 50 artists were found in Spotify playlists that did not exist (or had a very small presence) anywhere else.

They have racked up millions of streams by appearing on mood-based playlists such as Sleep and Ambient Chill, but many have no other visible profile.

Although some did appear to have a presence on other platforms - generally rival services such as LastFM and YouTube, but most had no website or social media presence in their own right.

For example, “Deep Watch”, the artist behind the two-song EP Endless Fragments of Time, no profile outside of Spotify, no biographic detail on the site, and no upcoming concerts listed anywhere.

However, two songs from the artist have racked up a total of 4.5m plays in the five months since the EP was released.

That’s due to having been listed on Spotify’s Ambient Chill playlist since April; a popular, heavily promoted playlist with more than 425,000 followers.

Similarly, Enno Aare, another unknown artist who seems not to exist outside of the streaming service, has four songs with a total of 17m plays, and a position on the Spotify-curated playlists “Sleep”, “Peaceful Piano”, “Piano in the Background”, “Deep Sleep” and “Music For Concentration”.

"We're pretty sure A&R [artist and repertoire] teams from across the globe would love to hear about artists with no online presence who have managed to rack up millions of Spotify plays with their first few tracks," wrote MBW.

Spotify vehemently denied creating “fake artists” saying: “We do not and have never created ‘fake’ artists and put them on Spotify playlists.
“[It’s] categorically untrue, full stop. We pay royalties – sound and publishing – for all tracks on Spotify, and for everything we playlist. We do not own rights, we’re not a label, all our music is licensed from rightsholders and we pay them – we don’t pay ourselves. We do not own this content – we license it and pay royalties just like we do on every other track,” it added.
Spotify declined to comment further on the issue.

SPOTIFY’S FAKE ARTISTS: MBW’S BIG LIST (TOTAL STREAMS)

Source: Music Business Week

1. Amity Cadet (9.2m)
2. Gabriel Parker (24.9m)
3. Charlie Key (23.6m)
4. Ana Olgica (23.5m)
5. Lo Mimieux (22.3m)
6. Mbo Mentho (10.3m)
7. Benny Treskow (14.9m)
8. Greg Barley (21.4m)
9. Relajar (13.4m)
10. Jeff Bright Jr (15.8m)
11. Mayhem (10.2m)
12. Novo Talos (17.2m)
13. Advaitas (7.4m)
14. Clay Edwards (4.7m)
15. Benny Bernstein (9.6m)
16. Enno Aare (17.1m)
17. Amy Yeager (5.7m)
18. Otto Wahl (27m)
19. Piotr Miteska (26.7m)
20. Leon Noel (2.7m)
21. Giuseppe Galvetti (2.7m)
22. Caro Utobarto (1.2m)
23. Risto Carto (1.7m)
24. Karin Borg (24.2m)
25. Hultana (3.2m)
26. Hiroshi Yamazaki (8.6m)
27. Milos Stavos (7.1m)
28. Allysa Nelson (4.3m)
29. They Dream By Day (16.2m)
30. Evelyn Stein (14.3m)
31. Józef Gatysik (10.4m)
32. Jonathan Coffey (480k)
33. Pernilla Mayer (4.2m)
34. Hermann (11.8m)
35. Aaron Lansing (11.3m)
36. Dylan Francis (6.5m)
37. Christopher Colman (509k)
38. Sam Eber (1.6m)
39. Fellows (3.3m)
40. Martin Fox (2.5m)
41. Deep Watch (4.8m)
42. The 2 Inversions (10.3m)
43. Bon Vie (4.7m)
44. Wilma Harrods (5.3m)
45. Antologie (5.8m)
46. Heinz Goldblatt (513k)
47. Charles Bolt (32.4m)
48. Samuel Lindon (11.8m)
49. Tony Lieberman (2.5m)
50. Mia Strass (8.9m)

Read the MBW report here

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