How does Spotify detect fake streams?

Since today the Swedish streaming service Spotify positions itself as the leader of the global streaming music market, with more than 350 million subscribers, there are many who want to earn money on music streaming on this platform. Recently, there was a scandal with the fact that the service itself uses fake tracks in order not to pay the artists their royalties.

Let’s immediately say that the algorithm of the service already takes into account the need for a detector for possible fake tracks. It analyzes metadata and makes its own decision to determine the authenticity of the composition hosted by someone.

Streaming services pay royalties to copyright holders for each listening to a song. Artists strive to get into their playlists with popular songs. The music streaming boom led to the emergence of an underground industry, offering musicians and record companies a chance to succeed for a certain fee. There is no exact data on the use of bots for listening, but participants in the music industry call this problem common.


The most popular streaming service Spotify promised to fight bots. But he warned that his ability to identify such accounts is limited.

Spotify himself was accused of creating fake musicians – artists who actually do not exist outside the service. Their songs are often found in curatorial playlists, millions of users listen to them, but it is impossible to find out about themselves: they have no profiles on social networks, music publications do not write about them. The music press suggested that Spotify thus moves away from royalties. But the fact of the use of fake artists and compositions remained unproven.

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Of course, nowhere can you find a description of the algorithm that uses the Swedish streaming service to determine the authenticity of the tracks placed. This information is available only to a limited number of specialists who are directly involved in the development of the relevant software. If the verification algorithms become known to potential fake performers, then they can without problems bypass the verification of the uniqueness of the posted fake tracks and musical compositions.

Since the remaining streaming services do not have track detectors, any track that will be placed on Spotify will be perceived by the system as original, especially if it is among the top listened tracks. So far, Swedish developers cannot prevent this method of placing fake tracks.

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