What happens if you’re caught bot streaming on Spotify?

Artificial streaming is damaging to all artists on the platform and will lead to serious repercussions for the music that has been fraudulently streamed. Spotify’s new warnings echo RouteNote’s own stance on bot streaming.

Spotify have released a new video and article showing the effects of artificial streaming on their platform with a serious warning not to fall for websites offering fake plays or take part knowingly in the activity. There is no doubt: bot streaming violates Spotify’s Terms of Service and as such will face serious repercussions, and if you distribute your music with RouteNote may lead to action against your RouteNote account as well.

Sadly a lot of times when bot streaming occurs the artist might not even be aware that they are doing anything wrong at all, which is why it’s all the more important that all artists be aware of it. Artists want their music to be heard and there are many ways to get your music out there in front of people, both clever tactics that don’t cost a penny and legitimate paid services like sites putting your music in front of music publications.

However, there are websites out there which claim to offer increased streams/plays in return for a cash investment and trick artists into an illegal, fraudulent practice. They will use bots to manipulate play counts without a real person actually listening to the music: both insincerely increasing the plays without the song ever actually being listened to but also attempting to earn streaming revenue falsely.


The repercussions if your music is caught using a bot for streaming

First of all, it doesn’t matter if you were aware that the streams being made on your music were artificial or not: the results will be the same. This is why it’s so important that if you’re looking to promote your music that you beware of websites offering increased plays and steer clear of any fake services offering bot streams.

When Spotify’s system picks up on artificial streams it will first ensure that any earnings on an artificially streamed release are withheld and do not get sent out to ensure that all the legitimate streams earn what they’re rightfully entitled to. This will then be matched by removing the plays and chart positions that they’ve found to have been gained illegitimately.

Once they’ve detected fraudulent activity on an artist’s music there is a good chance that release will also be removed. Once your music is removed and your earnings withheld, we will be notified at RouteNote if your music has been distributed through us. Once we are aware of any suspicious activity then we may be forced to take further action against any RouteNote accounts.

Spotify will also regularly remove any playlists that they discover has been created by users asking artists for money for a place in their playlist.


How does Spotify detect bot streaming

Spotify has an intelligent system capable of detecting fraudulent streams automatically and investigating the issue, ensuring that no bot streamed release ever manipulates the market and ultimately the payout to artists. Sarah Shields from Spotify says: “Spotify tracks unusual listening patterns and tracks streams that are potentially suspicious.”

She continues: “We have a huge team of engineers and researchers working on detecting, mitigating, and removing artificial streaming activity across Spotify so we can protect artists and their legitimate streams.” Legitimate streams referring to when a song is streamed by a real person who’s actually listening to it… how streams should work.

Shields finishes, saying: “We’re trying to make sure it’s a level playing field. We believe it’s only fair that every artist has an opportunity to find listeners and we want to make sure that artists and rightsholders are paid fairly for their work.”

Writing about music, listening to music, and occasionally playing music.

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