SCAM ALERT for all independent artists on Spotify

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A recent Spotify scam that targets independent artists allows users to sneakily take advantage of artists by using their names without permission. Here’s what to watch out for…

by Bobby Owsinski music 3.0

Artists, managers, and record labels have been trying to outsmart the system since the 1950s, so it shouldn’t be surprising to discover a new way to make an artist seem bigger than the real thing. There have been many ways to play on streaming networks over the years, and although the latest Spotify The scam may not be the most brazen, it unfortunately affects independent artists who can least afford it.

Let me introduce you

The latest scam is incredibly simple – just name a popular artist as a featured artist on your release, let that artist know you even exist but only collaborate. As a result, the song ends up on Spotify Liberation Radar, which then alerts the artist’s followers that they have a new release. Excited listeners will then listen to the song only to find that their favorite artist is nowhere on the song, but by then it’s too late as a “listen” has been recorded and the scammer receives the corresponding royalty.

Turns out Release Radar is now a massive stream engine. In fact, Spotify states that it “has become one of the top three personalized playlists for listeners around the world.” The service generates a personalized release radar every Friday consisting of new music from artists users follow, artists users listen to, and other artists Spotify thinks the user will like.

But the scam takes another step as the fake collaborations also end up on the artists Spotify page, and it takes time and effort to remove it.

Not for level performers

If you think now maybe you should mention it Beyonce Where Ed Sheeran might be a good featured artist to tag in your next release, so think again. This only works (for now at least) with independent artists with distribution companies that allow artists to name collaborators without their consent. The reason is that major labels apparently have a “block list” that prevents unauthorized tagging. Additionally, Spotify would have a team that analyzes releases of prominent artist names to find a problem before it happens.

According Billboardwhich first published this story, “. . .there’s a financial incentive to play Release Radar: Another label whose artists are targeted quite often in this way believes that a bogus collaboration between a stranger and a established act that has 1 million followers on Spotify can generate between 50,000 and 100,000 streams for the first in 24 hours.If an act is able to ride the coattails of an established artist without being detected, there is money to be won – even if it’s not a lot of money, maybe $100 or $200.

Spotify users are starting to get pissed off about it, so you can bet the company will be getting tougher on this Spotify scam soon, but for now, be on the lookout if you’re a popular indie artist.

Bobby Owsinski is a producer/engineer, author and coach. He is the author of 24 books on recording, music, the music industry and social media.

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