Why Independent Artists Must Beware Of Streaming Fraud

Given the stat-driven nature of today’s music industry, it should come as no surprise that fake streams have become an endemic issue, with otherwise perfectly legitimate companies buying up fake streams on the behalf of artists to artificially inflate their numbers, and ultimately causing more career harm than good.

Guest post by Randi Zimmerman of the Symphonic Blog

Buying fake streams is a serious problem in today’s modern industry. In a world that’s obsessed with stats, it’s understandable why. But the issue runs deeper than just buying streams. Even if you decide to work with a service that claims to be legitimate, they might be using the same illegal methods you’re trying to avoid. Faking success, whether intentional or accidental, is way more harmful to your career than helpful. It’s up to you to be conscious of scammers and misinformation, but we’re here to provide a helping hand.

Here’s what you need to know before we dive in…

Buying fake streams, along with many other illegal practices, on major streaming platforms like Spotify is nothing new. As easily as fraudulent users can steal an artist’s music to leech royalties, they can also buy streams from illegal third parties or fake them with illegal bots and click-farms.

Although universal technology has advanced enough to let people utilize black hat strategies like these, in recent years Spotify has been working tirelessly to implement their own best practices and technological systems to combat stream manipulation.

Spotify uses “a combination of algorithms and manual review by employees to detect fraudulent streams and aim to remove fake user accounts and filter them out from our metrics on an ongoing basis, as well as to require users to reset passwords that we suspect have been compromised…”

On that note, this post breaks down the biggest issues with paying for fake streams, whether intentional or by accident, and how doing so can hurt your career for years to come.

It steals rightful revenue from other independent artists.

Streaming services operate with a system called a “shared pool” model, which splits all income according to the total number of streams accrued. So if the numbers are being sabotaged by fake streams, real musicians with honest streams don’t get the money they deserve.

According to Rolling Stone“three to four percent of global streams are illegitimate streams…That’s around $300 million in potential lost revenue moved from legitimate streams to illegitimate, illegal streams.” // To learn more about just how deeply this affects artists all over the world, check out the article here.

It limits future opportunities.

Higher numbers don’t equal more talent, and everyone knows it. It’s not hard to tell if your streams are fake, and when they are, boy does it look bad. When labels see you’ve faked your thousands of “listeners”, they share that info with the industry. Then, you’ve lost your reliability and any opportunities that could have transpired had you just been honest and worked for real fans like everyone else.


Learn more…

Protecting Rightsholders from Fake Artists

How Artist Imposters and Fake Songs Sneak Onto Streaming Services

7 Amazing Tips for Engaging Fans on Social Media


Your account will be suspended and/or deactivated.

With today’s constantly evolving technology, streaming platforms have adapted to be able to automatically scope out fraudulent streams and artists. Once you’re caught, your account will be suspended or deactivated all together, forcing you to start from square one.

You’re wasting your money.

All the time and money you spend falsifying streams and using black hat tactics to cheat your way to the top could’ve been spent on some legitimate marketing, proper ads, and other perfectly good tactics to organically improve your stats online. The key is to do your research and find reputable services that you can be sure are doing the right thing. Some services will claim to get you thousands of streams or followers overnight, and what they’re really doing is using bots of their own to cheat the system.

Be very careful with how and where you use your hard earned money. Always do your due diligence on whatever companies you go into business with. Talk to prior clients, review testimonials, and make sure you’re spending your dollars wisely.

To help you out, check these out…

Remember, nobody does this thing alone. Symphonic offers legitimate (and awesome) marketing services to help independent artists just like you make their goals a reality. From elevated branding, marketing strategy guidance, social content creation, and so much more, we’ve got your back.

To check out our additional marketing services, click here.

Let’s face it. There’s no way to suddenly gain thousands of dedicated monthly listeners overnight. There are, however, tons of legitimate ways to make it happen over time. The trick is to strategize wisely, always do your research, and work on growing an exceptional team to help you along the way.

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