Music Streaming Fraud Costs Musicians Millions

The New York Times

David Segal, writing for New York Times:

The guys in Bad Dog, a folkie duo from Washington, D.C., weren’t hoping to get rich off the album they recorded this summer. David Post and Craig Blackwell have been devoted amateurs for decades, and they’re long past dreams of tours and limos. Mostly they wanted a CD to give away at a house party in December.

But not long after “The Jukebox of Regret” was finished in July and posted on SoundCloud, nearly every song on it somehow turned up on Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube and at least a dozen other streaming platforms. This might have counted as a pleasant surprise, except for a bizarre twist: Each song had a new title, attached to the name of a different artist.


Despite their backgrounds, both men were stymied by the vast and arcane world of music streaming fraud, a realm where anonymous pirates are constantly devising new ways to steal from the $17 billion a year pool of royalty money intended for artists.

That’s a giant, tempting pot of gold for scammers around the world. Beatdapp, a Vancouver company that detects fraud for industry clients, estimates that a little more than 10 percent of that pot, about $2 billion, is swiped annually.