Streaming fraud is a serious problem in the music 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, bots, and misinformation, but we’re here to provide a helping hand.

Why Independent Artists Should Beware of Streaming Fraud

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.CLICK TO TWEET

Here’s what you need to know…

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 and fake them with illegal bots and click-farms. Of the most common, third parties who promise playlist placements or a specific number of streams in exchange for compensation are likely using illegitimate practices without your knowledge.

Although universal technology has advanced enough to make it easy for people to utilize black hat strategies like these, Spotify has been working tirelessly to implement their own best practices and systems to combat stream manipulation on their site.

For example, 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 that streaming fraud causes in this industry and how, whether intentional or by accident, doing so can hurt your career for years to come.

1. 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.” //

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. Lastly, you’re straight up wasting your time & money.

The fact of the matter is, 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.

Our advice: Be very careful with how and where you use your hard earned money. Always do your research on every company you plan to go into business with. Talk to prior clients, review testimonials, and make sure you’re spending your dollars wisely.

In Conclusion…

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.