You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Spotify ‘Fake Artists’ Story Grows More Complicated as Site Continues to Level Accusations

“Watered-down beer” — that’s how one U.K. record executive describes Spotify’s alleged practice of sprinkling in “work-for-hire” production music amidst some of its most popular playlists, as Music Business Worldwide continues to level accusations that the world’s most popular streaming service is gaming its own system.

The accusations stem from the site’s alleged practice of padding its playlists with music created by producers operating under false names — for which it allegedly pays a flat fee and does not pay out royalties. (It should be noted that this is a common practice in the worlds of background music and advertising.) Spotify has soundly denied the accusations, but MBW and several Variety sources insist that they are real.

The latest development concerns the Swedish music-production house Epidemic Sound, which MBW touts as contributing even more phantom tracks than the Stockholm-based UMPG-repped producer duo of Andreas Romduane and Josef Svedlund (Quiz & Laross).

Epidemic composers Jeff Bright Jr., Greg Barley, Lo Mimieux, Charlie Key, Amity Cadet, Benny Treskow and Mia Strass are all cited as having ties to many of the pseudonyms represented on MBW’s list of 50 “questionable” artists widely represented (and, in many cases, praised) on Spotify’s classical, ambient and smooth jazz/new age playlists. Others who appear to be Epidemic artists include Tonie Green, Sigimun, Julius Aston and Grobert, filtered in with real-life Epidemic Sound composers Peter Sandberg, Gavin Luke and Rannar Sillard.

In its own words, Epidemic commissions “work-for-hire” music from its clients, acquiring “all financial rights” in the process, meaning it pays out no royalties for these compositions.

“There is no shortage of these production music houses that deliver tailor-made content for a set fee,” says one indie music publisher. “They’re the new version of Muzak.”

The watering-down metaphor applies to how Spotify pays out its royalties, by “pooling every stream on its platform” and compensating based on a total percentage of plays across the board, with the most streamed obviously making the largest share of the payouts. As mentioned before, that method lowers the total royalty compensation to high-royalty artists and labels which provide the bulk of Spotify’s top-performing content — and streams. As MBW points out, playlists like “Deep Sleep,” designed to help a listener count sheep, can continue to play for hours on end, racking up plays and royalty payments.

A system whereby certain top-performing artists and tracks were paid a flat fee, rather than steadily increasing royalties, would save the service a significant amount of money.

 

More Biz

  • poses backstage during the Songwriters Hall

    Cara Hutchison Promoted to Vice President at Rogers & Cowan

    “Watered-down beer” — that’s how one U.K. record executive describes Spotify’s alleged practice of sprinkling in “work-for-hire” production music amidst some of its most popular playlists, as Music Business Worldwide continues to level accusations that the world’s most popular streaming service is gaming its own system. The accusations stem from the site’s alleged practice of […]

  • Tamara Hrivnak

    Facebook’s Tamara Hrivnak Talks Company’s Music Moves: ‘We Want to Build the Future Together With You’

    “Watered-down beer” — that’s how one U.K. record executive describes Spotify’s alleged practice of sprinkling in “work-for-hire” production music amidst some of its most popular playlists, as Music Business Worldwide continues to level accusations that the world’s most popular streaming service is gaming its own system. The accusations stem from the site’s alleged practice of […]

  • robert kirkman

    Amazon Orders Animated Series 'Invincible' From 'Walking Dead' Creator Robert Kirkman

    “Watered-down beer” — that’s how one U.K. record executive describes Spotify’s alleged practice of sprinkling in “work-for-hire” production music amidst some of its most popular playlists, as Music Business Worldwide continues to level accusations that the world’s most popular streaming service is gaming its own system. The accusations stem from the site’s alleged practice of […]

  • Byron Allen Strictly Business

    Strictly Business Podcast: Byron Allen Expands in TV and Film, Fights for 'Economic Inclusion'

    “Watered-down beer” — that’s how one U.K. record executive describes Spotify’s alleged practice of sprinkling in “work-for-hire” production music amidst some of its most popular playlists, as Music Business Worldwide continues to level accusations that the world’s most popular streaming service is gaming its own system. The accusations stem from the site’s alleged practice of […]

  • Tarana Burke. Participants march against sexual

    'Weinstein Effect' Leads to Jump in Sexual Harassment Complaints

    “Watered-down beer” — that’s how one U.K. record executive describes Spotify’s alleged practice of sprinkling in “work-for-hire” production music amidst some of its most popular playlists, as Music Business Worldwide continues to level accusations that the world’s most popular streaming service is gaming its own system. The accusations stem from the site’s alleged practice of […]

  • At&t Time Warner Stock Index

    Merger Perks! WarnerMedia Employees Treated to 'Robust' Discounts on AT&T Products

    “Watered-down beer” — that’s how one U.K. record executive describes Spotify’s alleged practice of sprinkling in “work-for-hire” production music amidst some of its most popular playlists, as Music Business Worldwide continues to level accusations that the world’s most popular streaming service is gaming its own system. The accusations stem from the site’s alleged practice of […]

  • Norman Pearlstine

    Los Angeles Times Officially Returns to Local Ownership; Norman Pearlstine Named Editor

    “Watered-down beer” — that’s how one U.K. record executive describes Spotify’s alleged practice of sprinkling in “work-for-hire” production music amidst some of its most popular playlists, as Music Business Worldwide continues to level accusations that the world’s most popular streaming service is gaming its own system. The accusations stem from the site’s alleged practice of […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content