New York City, NY – There is currently an article spreading like wildfire that accuses music streaming giant Spotify of cooking their numbers in the form of fake accounts in a maneuver that keeps them from paying royalties to their extensive artist database. And if the DMN article was the fire, then this Vulture editorial which ran the day after the 4th of July and this Music Business Worldwide article posted in August of 2016 were the matches Smokey the Bear warns kids about.
Naturally, Spotify is distancing themselves from all claims of shady spamming.
“We do not and have never created ‘fake’ artists and put them on Spotify playlists. Categorically untrue, full stop,” a Spotify spokesperson told Billboard via email. “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.”
The reoccurring accusation within all three articles is users would “game” Spotify’s system; creating cover songs of well-known artists (with fake names) and supposedly, it’s all done internally. The same Spotify rep also addressed this particularly gray area; acknowledging it that while possible, they don’t condone it under their watch whatsoever.
“As we grow there will always be people who try to game the system. We have a team in place to constantly monitor the service to flag any activity that could be seen as fraudulent or misleading to our users.”
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It’s reported that Spotify has more than 140 million users, unequivocally making them the largest player in the biz that includes Apple Music, Pandora and JAY-Z’s TIDAL.