The Complexity of Artificial Spotify Streams


I have to air this out.

About a month ago, I noticed that one of my songs “Never Gonna Come Down” was added to an independent Spotify playlist for one day. It got 10,000 streams that day, and then it was taken off the playlist. I thought that was weird, but I didn’t think much of it. I hadn’t paid for any playlisting campaigns or anything like that. I have no idea who added the song or what the playlist was.

Then, just a few days ago, I got an email from Spotify for Artists notifying me that artificial streams were detected on my music. There were no details provided on what song(s) were flagged. Even when I reached out to the support team at Spotify for Artists, they weren’t able to provide specific details on what songs had artificial streams. I started thinking it was from this playlist that “Never Gonna Come Down” was added to.

I was logging into my distributor’s website (Distrokid) a few days later. I got redirected to a pop-up window notifying me that 98% of the streams from “Never Gonna Come Down” were artificial. As a result, Spotify removed my whole album, From the Woods, the release that “Never Gonna Come Down” was released on. The album is still available on all other platforms, but it was removed from Spotify.

I had to check boxes agreeing not to pay for fake streams and was given warnings that sometimes artists and labels would be required to pay fees when artificial streams are detected.

I feel like I was penalized for something I had nothing to do with. It’s deeply concerning that anyone could add any artist’s music to a bot-driven Spotify playlist, which could result in that artist’s music being removed. Spotify is trying to crack down on fraudulent streams and paid campaigns that offer guaranteed streams and playlist placements, but what if it’s not the artist’s fault? What if someone just wants to mess with an artist’s music? What if a song is added to a fake-streaming playlist without the artist’s participation or involvement? I am curious to know if any other artists in my circle have experienced this issue.

It looks like I can re-upload the album to make it available on Spotify again, but this experience raises so many concerns. I hope my sharing what happened to me helps other artists, and for anyone who isn’t an artist, this is a look into the complexity of what we deal with in this era of streaming.

Finally, please keep streaming my music wherever you listen, because as a real person, you make a huge difference.