There’s been a lot in the news over the last week about Spotify making its own albums under fake artists names, then placing the music on popular playlists. This news actually came out about a year ago but has bubbled to the surface again. Why would the company do that? To make more money, of course, especially in light of the fact that it will go public soon and has to look good to underwriters and investors.
Spotify has been accused of hiring production teams to record albums of music, mostly without vocals, then adding the tracks to playlists of genres like jazz, chill and peaceful piano playing. The producers get no royalties as Spotify retains the master copyright, and in some cases, the publishing as well. The artists that the music is credited to are, of course, fake. So far, Music Business Worldwide has found more than 50 of these fake artists, and many more are being discovered each day.
Now it’s bad enough that the company is trying to make money out the back door, but the big problem is that it’s the real artists who suffer. While it’s easy for the streaming company to put one of its own songs on a playlist, it’s very difficult (although not impossible) for the average artist to do so. Of course, the biggest issue is the amount of time and effort involved. Almost none for Spotify – lots and lots for the indie artist.
Spotify has denied the accusation, and much like a certain president, continues to say that the issue is essentially fake news. That’s no consolation to hard working artists everywhere though. It’s hard enough to make a living as an artist, musician, songwriter, producer or engineer these days without another impediment (and an unethical one at that) in the way.