Spotify has a serious problem with “fake artists”. It is not clear that you are interested in solving it

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Spotify has been dragging a serious problem for years. A controversy that puts in check all their credibility regarding the music industry with which they work. At the time they denied all the accusations about this illicit practice, but little seems to have changed since then. Here we tell you what the problem with “fake artists” consists of, what impact it has on the industry and what is the role of Spotify in all this network.


Artificial artists who sneak into the top lists. A Music Business Worldwide report published in 2017 accused Spotify of including several artificial artists created by themselves in the most popular playlists, with the idea that the profits generated remain in their hands.

Playlists like Peaceful Piano, Ambient Chill or Music for Concentration are widely used, but many users do not pay attention to who is really behind these songs. Many of them seem generic. As described by MBW, some of these authors they have millions of reproductions but then as artists they are practically unknown. We are no longer talking about being small artists, but directly there is almost no public information available about them.

Loop listening, fake accounts and VPN: how artists and fans manipulate music charts

Who are they. They don’t have a Facebook or Twitter account, they don’t appear to have an agent, no details on their record label, no trace of them on YouTube, and their music doesn’t appear on rival platforms like Apple Music or Tidal. Some of them, however, had an abysmal amount of reproductions, from 9.2 million amity cadet up to 22.3 million Lo Mimieux. Generic names with a visibility that many artists would like to have, but then when you search for them on Google they only point to strange websites.

The explanation given by Spotify is another. According to answered, these names were actually pseudonyms used by various composers. And they gave as an example Andreas Aleman, who used aliases such as Allysa Nelson, Wilma Harrods, Amy Yeage and Milo Stavos. As it happens, most of these artists are Swedish, the same country of origin as Spotify.

The major labels turn a blind eye. The authors of the report point to a harsh reality. Spotify is the one that receives the most criticism because it is one of the biggest streaming platforms and it is quite transparent, but other services such as Amazon Music or Deezer could also do the same. “Even Sony and Universal Music created playlists for these kinds of use cases under their brands like Digster and Filtr long before Spotify did,” explain from MBW.

Seals that look like subsidiaries. Fake artists are a major source of income for certain companies. One of them would be Firefly Entertainment, a record label that generated about 7 million dollars in 2020, ten times more than they generated in 2017. The fact is that, according to the Swedish average DN, Firefly would have obtained a large part of its income based on alliances with Spotify through the use of these “fake artists”. It does not stop there, since some of its founders would have a close relationship with some former Spotify execs.

Artists lose, rights managers win. These maneuvers call into question the distribution of income from rights. It reminds of maneuvers like “the wheel”, the SGAE scam that used random musicians for programs at dawn on national television. In the background is the same mantra: if I control access, I can also favor where the income goes. That is where the presence of some artificial artists comes in, which in practice is as if the platform itself kept the income.

From Xataka we have asked Spotify what kind of measures they are applying against this controversy, we will update when we get an answer. We already know that in the past they have categorically denied that there is this type of artist.

Image | Bruno Emmanuelle

Spotify has been dragging a serious problem for years. A controversy that puts in check all their credibility regarding the…

Spotify has been dragging a serious problem for years. A controversy that puts in check all their credibility regarding the…

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