An unknown Bulgarian has become the talk of the music industry after a sophisticated and apparently successful attempt to game Spotify.
Thanks to a fascinating exposé by Tim Ingham at Music Business Worldwide we learn that the perpetrator may actually have been playing by the rules, bringing to light a little-noticed characteristic of the streaming model.
The scammer, who has not been identified, uploaded more than 400 sub-one-minute tracks to Spotify and arranged them into a playlist, Ingham reports. Many were a little over 30 seconds, the minimum length of listening time that Spotify requires to pay out a royalty payment. These were then streamed continuously to some 1,200 paid Premium accounts….
Spotify has paid $5bn to rights holders over a decade, and streaming accounts for half of UK music consumption, according to the BPI’s annual fact sandwich. But Spotify’s payouts to creators went down even as its revenue increased last year, according to this report. Spotify maintains overall payments increased. How much hard-earned cash are subterranean robo royalty schemes extracting?