As if making it in the music industry wasn’t hard enough, musicians now face competition from fake artists, in this case production companies paid a flat fee by streaming services to create music from which the platform then scoops up the royalties.
Guest post by Bobby Owsinski of Music 3.0
It’s difficult enough for a legit artist to make it these days, but it’s particularly infuriating when fake artists get big streaming numbers. As pointed out in a previous post, Spotify hired a Swedish production music house to compose mood music for playlists like Deep Focus, Sleep or Peaceful Piano. The platform pays a flat fee for the songs, then collects the royalties on the streams itself.
According to Rolling Stone, these 10 fake artists have combined for 1.22 billion plays:
- ‘Ana Olgica’ – 154 million plays, 1.52 million monthly listeners;
- ‘Charles Bolt’ – 143 million plays, 1.85 million monthly listeners;
- ‘Samuel Lindon’ – 145 million plays, 1.55 million monthly listeners;
- ‘Aaron Lansing’ – 121 million plays, 1.62 million monthly listeners;
- ‘Enno Aare’ – 120 million plays; 1.15 million monthly listeners;
- ‘Piotr Miteska’ – 115 million plays; 1.47 million monthly listeners;
- ‘They Dream By Day’ – 108 million plays; 1.24 million monthly listeners
- ‘Lo Mimieux’ – 107 million plays, 1.28 million monthly listeners;
- ‘Karin Borg’ – 104 million plays, 987,000 monthly listeners;
- ‘Jozef Gatysik’ – 98.8 million plays, 966,000 monthly listeners;
To put the 1.22 billion streams into context, these artists haven’t reached that mark with their entire catalogs on Spotify yet – Beyoncé, John Legend, One Direction, Childish Gambino, Lorde and Meek Mill.
The major labels aren’t taking this lying down though. Sony Music has launched its own brand of mood music on Spotify and Apple Music with over 990 tracks by “Sleepy John,” an artist from the production music company Yellowstone.
Warner Music has something similar but not as blatant with its AI driven albums produced by the Endel app.
What’s the reason for this? Spotify and many other streaming platforms derive royalty rates from market share. In other words, the more plays you get, the more you make. Shooting for mood and activity playlists is like low-hanging fruit in that the music is inexpensive to produce and can be easily farmed out and doesn’t require any marketing.
The big problem is that legitimate artists ultimately suffer at the hands of the fake artists. Streaming was supposed to democratize music, but it seems like big companies are still finding ways to keep the little guy down. Same as it ever was.