Spotify Denies Allegations It Manufactured Fake Artists

Written by on July 12, 2017

Spotify Accused Of Hiring Producers To Create Songs Under Fake Pseudonyms

A spokesperson for Spotify denied allegations the company has been padding out its playlists with non-existent artists.

Music Business Worldwide originally made its allegations last summer, claiming that inside sources in the company had confirmed their suspicions. They claimed that Spotify was saving money by hiring anonymous artists to produce songs under fake pseudonyms, and offering them a one-time payment rather than paying hefty fees based on the number of streams.

Last week Vulture dug the accusations back up in a wide-reaching article about the platform’s spam problem, whereby users are able to game the system to squeeze out revenue disingenuously. They pointed to one Spotify-owned playlist, in particular, a selection of ambient instrumental music called Sleep, as a possible example of the fake artist’s scheme in action. On that playlist, there is a track by Enno Aare, a band with four tracks on Spotify and no evidence of their existence elsewhere on the web—a sign that the artist may have been invented solely for use on the streaming platform.

Today Spotify responded in a statement given to Billboard. “We do not and have never created ‘fake’ artists and put them on Spotify playlists. Categorically untrue, full stop,” a Spotify spokesperson wrote in an 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.”

Music Business Worldwide responded within hours, publishing a list of 50 artist names it believes are manufactured.

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