How Spammers, Superstars, and Tech Giants Gamed the Music Industry

Adam K. Raymond, writing for Vulture:

A sub version of this ruse is to create an “artist” for one ripoff song and use the same name as the original. For example, 1.7 million people looking for “Demons” by Imagine Dragons have instead listened to “Demons” by Imagine Demons. It’s the only track this “band” has on Spotify.


Streaming’s impact on the way artists make music goes all the way to the top. Take Chris Brown, whose upcoming album Heartbreak on Full Moon has 40 tracks, and not because he has so much to say. The famously unscrupulous pop star has found a way to boost his streaming numbers, which in turn inflate sale figures, and will, he hopes, send his album shooting up the charts quicker than it otherwise would.


That means that songs on playlists generally get a ton of plays. It’s why there are countless articles providing tips on how a band can get their music on a playlist. It’s also why Spotify is allegedly paying producers to create fake artists whose music can rack up plays without costing the company any more than what they paid up front.