Streaming Farms: How Big Artists and Labels Fake Their Streaming Numbers

Streaming services have been a godsend for labels but now they're gaming the system by buying fake streams.

🐐 What Is A Streaming Farm?

Before there was Spotify streaming, there were radio stations who determined which songs would become popular anthems in the US and abroad.

Radio DJs seemed to have a lot of influence and generated money from labels and artists "paying for plays" called payola.

Payola was a term used for an undercover and secret payment made to a radio DJ to make a song blow up and become a hit by playing it consistently. This was not based on fan demand or request either.

But since the start of Spotify, radios have become less important for labels and artists to rely on to create instant music hits. These same labels and artists now turn to streaming farms to help them artificially increase their streams to create a hit and make more money.

Streaming farms a new type of business where someone sets up a complicated tech stack that mimics fans listening to the same song hundreds of times at a specific period of time.

How streaming farms work

🤔 Do Streaming Farms Work?

Yes! Streaming farms have helped well known artists get to the top of streaming charts.

They have also helped labels earn more money from streaming royalties.

But, Spotify is now forced to crackdown on this illegal behavior because it has come under scrutiny.

The increase in streaming farms has negatively affected smaller independent artists who can't afford to pay this game. It's also unfair to compete with an artist or label that is paying for streams instead of competing based on the quality of the music itself.

📵 Are Streaming Farms Illegal?

Connected phones used by streaming farms

Yes! Streaming farms are an illegal way to buy streams and make money from royalties.

If there is even a whiff of illegal streaming, companies like Spotify, UnitedMasters, DistroKid and others will not pay you for those fake streams.

The crazy thing is that the people who can afford to pay for streams and have the motivation are the labels and signed artists!

Why? They are struggling to hold their spots on billboard charts and compete fairly with 100% independent artists. The tables have turned and more power is shifting to independents causing labels to fear the lost of power and control.

❓ Why Do Artists and Labels Use Streaming Farms?

Signed artists and labels use streaming farms to increase their streaming numbers and top the charts. This ensures they earn royalties, but more importantly, it proves their artists are popular even if it's really not the truth.

On Season 2 of Viceland‘s Black Market, actor Michael K. Williams talks with a man that didn't want to be identified to discuss how big named artists and labels were using his services to buy fake streams. Even smaller artists will spike their streams to attract real listeners.

100,000 streams typically go for $1,500.

“Just run the numbers up. Some people ask for 100K, 200K.  Just get the appearance of their music to look good when they come to their page.”

G-Eazy Caught Using Streaming Farms

G-Eazy is one of the artists named in the Black Market episode that was caught as having used streaming farms to increase his plays.

French Montana Caught Using Streaming Farms

In January 2020, French was accused by some Twitter users of buying fake streams to push his Cardi B and Post Malone-featured single "Writing on the Wall."

💰 Do You Get Paid For Fake Streams?

I'm sure some artists and labels got away with not being detected but in recent years, Spotify has begun cracking down on fake streams.

It's in the interest of streaming services not to pay out for streams that are fake but it's hard to figure our what's real and fake unless it's blatant enough.

As an independent artist, you will likely not get paid if they suspect you've paid for streams.

Be careful because we've seen some artists get banned from creating distribution accounts on DistroKid and UnitedMasters because of suspicion of using streaming farms.

📱 Distrokid/Spotify Fake Streams

Music streaming and distribution companies both suffer from fake streams by many of the top artists and they've now decided to crack down it.

Just do a simple search on the internet, and you'll find some artists and rappers complaining about being banned for suspicions of faking their streams on DistroKid, Spotify, Apple Music or Amazon Music.

DistroKid and Spotify are specifically looking for erratic stream behavior. If you are getting thousands of streams in a short period of time and it's not consistent or gradual, you may be targeted for a ban or getting your music taken down.

Avoid this at all costs! If you get caught up in this fake stream crackdown and are innocent, it's next to impossible to get it solved quickly.

🔥 Competing With Big Artists/Labels?

So now the question is how do you as an independent artist compete against major artists and labels using streaming farms?

The one thing they can't fake is real fans attending real shows! It's a fair playing field right now (yes, even if they do have a bigger marketing budget)

Start doing live shows, build up a local following in your city and really grind!

Download the Qoncert App to find opportunities in your city and let's get your career off to a good start.

Perform Live
Tour Independently

Download the Qoncert app to find local shows in your city to perform, gain new fans and make serious money. 🎤🤘🏽🔥

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