The Spotify Statement for Vulfpeck’s Silent Album…

Spotify ripped it down.  But they also paid.


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28 Responses

  1. Hola Tango

    TuneCore was just informed that Spotify has reported multiple instances of store end streaming abuse for your release and has sense removed it from their store. As explained to us by Spotify, “store end streaming abuse” is when Spotify’s fraud review team, in their sole judgment, determine that a particular song or album has been played an abnormally high number of times within a small number of store accounts, oftentimes thousands of streams per account. They further state that these streams can inflate an album’s position within store charts and lower the overall per-stream-value of all albums within the store. As a result, Spotify considers this a violation of their terms and conditions as agreed to by the person that set up the account with them. Such streaming abuse also leads to significant financial losses for Spotify. As a reminder, by agreeing to the TuneCore Terms and Conditions, you have agreed that TuneCore may terminate your account and block your ability to withdraw funds therefrom, in the event that TuneCore, in its sole discretion, suspects that your account has been subjected to and/or involved in infringing the intellectual property rights of third parties and/or engaging in otherwise fraudulent activity. Unfortunately, when we get contacted by a digital store that has determined there is fraud or illegal activity, we must comply with the stores’s request to disable all deliveries to the store from the TuneCore customer who uploaded the materials. We have to ask that you do not select the Spotify store for any future deliveries as we will need to block that album or single from sale. We thank you for your understanding. Best, ___ ______ Finance Support and Fraud Specialist

  2. Jeff Robinson

    Wait, does this mean Tunecore removed the release?

  3. Casey

    Seems to me Spotify probably had to pay or face copyright infringement.

    They probably should have removed all their content though, permanently. There needs to be a zero tolerance policy for this kind of behavior.

    • Jeff Robinson

      Casey, do you think these streaming services actually pay for every stream of a song?

      With such easy potential for fraud on the accounting end from the ‘losing-money-hand-over-fist Venture Capitalists’, I believe they only report a certain percentage of them to a distributor.

      • GGG

        Pretty sure it’s done just like everything else; they tally up their revenue and pay out to each artist their “percentage” of plays. With some preferential treatment, of course, as well as differences in pay tiers. Glancing at a recent statement of mine, I have per play streams ranging from a little over a tenth of a penny to over a cent.

      • JTVDigital

        Yes, streaming services pay for every stream of a song.

        • Jeff Robinson

          You should distribute your music and watch what happens. Get back to me when your accounting comes up short, like ours does every quarter. Not a single service pays for every stream.

          • Chucks

            I had an album on Spotify and was streaming my own stuff. Got taken down with Vulfpeck, but they paid every stream. Since Spotify is going to pay 70% of its revenue to artists no matter what, it doesn’t make sense to hide streams, it doesn’t give Spotify any more money.

    • jw

      Can you copyright silence, though?

      I believe they could beat that in court. There has to be some original work in order for copyright to apply, one would think.

        • jw

          Meh. I still don’t think you could actually win that in court.

          >> Batt eventually settled out of court for an undisclosed six-figure sum. However,
          >> he pointed out that Peters had acknowledged they didn’t have much of a case,
          >> and that he was donating the money out of respect for John Cage — to the John
          >> Cage Trust.
          >> I suppose the real issue wasn’t so much the copying of silence (otherwise
          >> there’d be a hell of a lot more lawsuits…) but the fact that Batt credited Cage as
          >> a writer.

      • Anonymous

        Sure you can. It is artistic expression. You see things like this all the time in fine art.

      • Chucks

        Pure digital silence, I don’t think so. There’s no content. But recording “silence” is likely copyrightable sense it’s not actually silence. 4’33” has always been a quiet concert hall with all sorts of tiny vibrations, scuffs, coughs, breathing, etc. That’s art.

  4. tippysdemise

    Spotify handled this quite well given the circumstances. They honored the gamed streams by paying out, and they let it go long enough to prove that there is indeed money in streaming for artists with a solid fanbase (who can consistently hit or exceed Vulfpeck’s March 2014 numbers).

    • Annabanana

      Agreed. Not personally a huge fan of the service, but $5k/mo is a decent living especially when supplemented with other streaming services, touring, licensing, merch, etc.

    • hippydog

      I dont know..
      I think it makes them look kinda stupid..

      Now I’m thinking..
      If these guys got away with it, where any type of checking should of caught it..

      How MANY are already using more advanced versions of the same rip off?

  5. David

    Correction to the article: Spotify ripped it down, but other artists paid.

    Unless Spotify keeps a special reserve fund to pay people who are trying to cheat other artists. Which I doubt.

    • Anonymous

      Um, I don’t see the problem? Their album is legitimate art.

      • David

        No it isn’t. The band themselves never claimed that it has any purpose or merit other than raising money. They omitted to mention that the money came at the expense of other artists. They either didn’t know, in which case they were stupid, or they didn’t care, in which case they were dishonest.

        • Anonymous

          The band doesn’t have to claim that it is art for it to be art. See the Dada artistic movement for a notable example.

          • David

            We are often told the opposite: that Duchamp’s urinal was a work of art because he said it was, if not in so many words, then by the act of presenting it to an art gallery.
            In the case of Vulfpeck, whether they call it a work of art or not, it isn’t.

          • Anonymous

            It’s definitely art. In fact, it is art of the highest order, because it’s touching your life.

  6. @FubarMI

    Don’t blame Vulfpeck (or whatever their name is). They’re gaming a shoddy system. Make the correction on an industry level… by correcting what the trade groups (who don’t agree with each other) for coming up with a convoluted royalty system that is so arbitrary and cryptic, only a handful of people can explain it.

    – The Music Industry is FUBAR’d

  7. Anonymous

    TuneCore needs a spell checker. Or new interns.

  8. JTVDigital

    What is a bit surprising in this story, is that TuneCore did not detect the “issue” upstream.
    Artists trying to cheat the system and/or upload content copyrighted by others, this is happening very frequently when you’re a digital distributor.
    But imho they should have a process for preventing this…

  9. Anonymous

    I listened to this album.

    It is better then the vast majority of music on Spotify. This album is far more innovative and creative then the vast majority of auto-tuned technogarbage on the streaming service.

    The fact that Spotify CENSORED these musicians is a disgrace and insult to the memory of experimental musicians like John Cage. They should be ashamed of themselves.

  10. jw

    Michelle Shocked (who is an idiot) is trying to recreate this scheme. Except she’s telling people that her album contains frequencies inaudible to human ears, but audible to dogs. So she wants people to play the album for their pets while they’re at work, so she can steal money from the payout pool from legitimate artists. But the audio format that Spotify uses wouldn’t retain those frequencies, & consumer speakers wouldn’t reproduce them, anyhow. So that makes her also a liar. Supposedly there’s no audio data in the files she’s selling on cdbaby.

    I guess we’ll see if her fans are idiots, too.

  11. filiep

    I think Spotify made a few mistakes. First of all it says in the user terms that play may not be artificialy increased. What is artificial? There is always human interaction even if you use a script then you have interaction. Second they can’t kick the album as it’s the users that make the plays so if they thought the plays are artificial then they should kick the users…