With Spotify and Deezer limiting streaming revenue for noise audio on their platforms, we clarify exactly what that is.

In recent months, ‘noise audio’ has been coming up a lot in the music streaming world. Both Spotify and Deezer have announced measures to restrict their revenue streams or demonetize them apparently.

What is non-artist noise audio? Noise audio covers a bunch of non-musical content, including whale noises, nature sounds, white noise, and static.

Spotify have announced changes that will introduce a higher streaming threshold on this content before it generates revenue. Currently, all Spotify tracks begin earning streaming revenue after 30 seconds of listening. Spotify will be setting a minimum length of 2 minutes for noise tracks before they generate streaming revenue.

Spotify are also in talks to lower the value of non-artist noise audio. Presumably this means that they would earn less per generated stream, on top of their increased threshold for eligibility.

Deezer have similarly promised to tackle non-musical noise audio. Their policies are even stricter, intending to entirely demonetize and remove non-artist noise tracks. They aim to replace them with in-house content that doesn’t generate royalties and therefore allots greater payments to artists.

Currently, Deezer have worked with Universal and Warner in France to generate greater payments for their artists.

Why is non-musical noise audio being demonetized?

There are a number of reasons why streaming services are targeting non-artist noise content. Ultimately, both Deezer and Spotify wish for artists to earn more for their music being listened to.

Non-musical noise audio is generally very easy to create and, arguably, has no musical value. It is instead used for the purpose of focus or relaxing. Particularly with developments in AI, creating loads of noise tracks is easier than ever before.

So, it’s already easy money. Unfortunately, these tracks are also being used to game streams and exploit streaming revenues. Both streaming services claim that there are many instances of noise tracks just over 30 seconds long being added, the minimum required to earn revenue. Uploaders can exploit potentially hours of individual seamless streams, particularly when these 30 second noise tracks are placed next to each other.

This gaming has been funnelling valuable streaming revenue away from artists. Of course, it has value for listeners. Hence Deezer’s proposed approach of offering their own versions of this content, that isn’t gamed or redirecting revenue.