YOU MUST BEWARE! Indie Artists Get Scammed on Spotify

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A group of deceptive indie musicians recently discovered a secret way to play one of Spotify’s most popular playlists to discover new music.

by James Shotwell from Haulix

We publish a lot of content about scams in the music industry, and for good reason. Nothing infuriates people more than people who take advantage of dreamers for selfish personal gain. People shouldn’t be afraid to trust others with their aspirations, especially on Spotify, but such is the world we live in.

Billboard recently reported on a new scam involving indie artists who take advantage of the following of other indie musicians for personal gain. These artists upload songs to Spotify along with other larger artists tagged as featured on the music. This tag catches the attention of Spotify’s algorithm, which then takes the material and distributes it to the broadcast radar of people who follow or frequently listen to the most popular artist (which, to be clear, isn’t actually on the track in question).

When fans realize they’ve been lied to, the myth-perpetuating artist has already earned another stream for his song. Multiply that by hundreds or even thousands of incidents, and cheating musicians could easily see a huge boost in their streaming revenue from the continued use of this tactic.

There is a related problem that also needs to be fixed. Major label artists need not worry about similar scams being attempted with their likeness. As Music Biz host James Shotwell details in his latest video, Spotify has a manual review process to ensure that the top of the charts cannot be cheated by deceptive marketing practices. This forces us to ask ourselves: why don’t independent artists receive the same treatment?

James Shotwell is Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company’s podcast, Inside Music. He is also a known speaker for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His signatures include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.

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