112 artists have been confirmed to have had their recordings directly stolen and then repurposed on fake artist accounts on various streaming services. The recording theft includes at least 831 total songs, of which 673 the website Saving Country Music has been able to identify. The stolen songs on the fake accounts have received more than 5 millions streams already, and have been estimated to have generated about $1,500 a week for the fake accounts.
24 such fake accounts that have been confirmed, but there seems to be many more that are suspicious. The problem is that because of the way the streaming system works today, there may be hundreds or even thousands of accounts that are actually doing this that continue to go unnoticed.
Of course, this means that the artists, labels, songwriters and publishers are not seeing any of the money generated. A full list of the artists affected can be found here.
The ruse was first discovered in mid-December when Canadian country performer Colter Wall released his rendition of the old cowboy standard “I Ride Old Paint.” The release showed up on Spotify’s Discovery Weekly playlist but the song was credited to Jason Dover, while it was very apparent that it was the voice of Colter Wall.
Other fake accounts with stolen artist’s music were then uncovered. All had similar characteristics in that their album art was pretty generic and generated using the online graphics tool Canva. Also, all releases were uploaded on the same day, which rarely happens in real life. Most artists had at least 2 songs taken, and in some cases more – even entire albums.
The problem is that Spotify seems to be slow to take down the fake accounts, which has artists and their managers up in arms. Since most of these artists are not in the superstar category, they need the revenue generated from those streams to survive. It looks like we’re entering into a new phase of recording theft and this time it doesn’t involve superstars.