Bot farms continue to manipulate streaming stats on Spotify and Soundcloud, a year after the streamers and music industry became aware of them, multiple sources tell Hypebot. The bots, which target these two services because they offer free access, are available both home-brewed and professionally marketed.
Bots targeted Spotify as early as 2015, but the industry became aware of their widespread use earlier this year when after a MBW expose revealed that two Bulgarian based playlists filled with hundreds of tracks by unknown artists had sucked $1 million or more out of the Spotify royalty pool.
8 months after the story broke, bots continue to manipulate streams on both Spotify and Soundcloud, with the streamers and the industry seemingly unable or unwilling to stop them.
12 months ago, Hypebot revealed that music bot providers were using YouTube as a marketing channel, gaining tens of thousands of views. Those same videos are still available on YouTube and a new bot how-to video posted just four months ago has been viewed more that 33,000 times.
Some bots are run by commercial services selling guaranteed streams. Others come from developers like somiibo which offers bots for Spotify, Soundcloud alongside bots that deliver likes and followers Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and other social media services.
This intro video of the somiibo Soundcloud bot shows its scope:
Here is a video of one of the hardest type of music bot farms in action, courtesy of Australia's Industry Observer.