Spotify is in the tech news headlines today. The streaming music company has been accused of filling certain playlists with fake music. The accusations come from users that have listened to particular playlists but have found no trace of certain bands outside of Spotify.
The company outright denies these accusations stating that it pays for artist rights and loyalties, and that all of its music is authentic.
The accusations come from Music Business Worldwide, a popular music industry website. The publication outright states that Spotify is making its own music. The publication notes that, “last week, MBW revealed that Spotify was out of contract with all three major labels – and locked in a tense dispute over the 55% revenue share it pays recorded music rights-holders.”
Based on this information, MBW has deducted that Spotify can’t be offering real artists to users because of the various contract disputes. MBW further explains that Spotify has been paying producers to create tracks based on various guidelines. The publication notes that it has various ‘iron-clad’ sources. Producers then receive a fee for their work, and Spotify puts the songs under fake artists names -- allegedly.
Okay, so if Spotify is, indeed, paying producers to create fake tracks, why would the company do this? There are a few reasons, but the main one is that Spotify would be able to precisely curate user music taste if the company can control content completely. Spotify has also noted in the past that the company has plans to create its own content, but that was assumed to be content in the form of documentaries and other journalistic-style work.
Even if Spotify is creating fake artists and paying producers to create songs according to strenuous guidelines, this won’t really get in the way of popular songs much. Pop songs are still pop songs and most users want to hear those songs -- but it is interesting to note that Spotify is in major disputes with all three record labels. This might mean that the company simply can’t play the music that users want to hear.
Some companies and artists pay Spotify good money for the company to play their songs. Those companies are probably going to be angry if they find out that Spotify is, in fact, producing their own songs and putting those ahead of all other music on the service. Right now, the accusations note that Spotify is only playing those tracks on ambient lists, but some wonder where the company will create fake tracks next - or how users can tell if they are paying to listen to real artists.
That Music Business Worldwide article came out last year, and today the company outright denies that it is paying any publisher to create fake music. Of course, this sparked another article on MBW. This time around, the publication lists all of the fake tracks that they claim Spotify is adding to music lists. Ouch.
How can you tell if what you’re listening to is real? You can’t. Not really. You can trust Spotify, or you can trust MBW. Either way, if you’re listening to Spotify you might not be getting what you’re paying for.