Indie rapper Russ has taken yet another swipe at the industry, this time saying he’s going to start ‘faking his streams just like everyone else.’ Here’s the latest.
The rapper joked on Thursday that he would start faking his stream numbers, pumping them artificially to generate ‘real streams.’ “Real shit, I’m boutta start faking my streams like everyone else,” the rapper begins in a now-deleted tweet, followed by several cry-laughing emoji.
“It’s marketing when you think about it. General person is a sheep, if you see a song has let’s say 100m streams and you haven’t heard it, you think ‘damn I’m tripping I needa go peep’ and then the fake streams get you real streams. Such a ridiculous game but f*ck it, maybe I’ll film the whole process and drop a doc after,” the rapper concludes.
Russ has levied some serious allegations against Billboard and Luminate, which tracks U.S. sales data for the Billboard music charts. When his album Santiago debuted at #12 on the Billboard 200 despite projections of breaking the top ten—Russ spoke up on Twitter.
“Billboard & Luminate took away ANOTHER 4,000 of my REAL sales over the weekend making that 10,000 sales total they took away from me while allowing major labels to fake their streams and sales and do monopolistic merch bundles,” the rapper alleges. “Only major labels are allowed to do merch bundles because the only approved vendor is a major label vendor. These numbers and charts are made up. The impact however is not. Shoutout to the fans.”
Russ’s manager Milan stepped in to join the argument that major labels utilize streaming farms to inflate artist streams. “Major labels are hiding their fake streams in plain sight and no one is stopping him,” Milan tweeted. “Some of the artists on these labels aren’t even aware that their streams are inflated, until it’s time for those artists to sell ‘hard tickets.’ At which point the numbers don’t add up. It’s time to verify stream & sales data on-chain.”
“The current music ‘charts are inflated by fake data and that data is being verified by one company only [Luminate]. That same company that verified the data is owned by the same company that owns the ‘charts.’ It’s a rigged game,” he tweets. Both Billboard and Luminate are owned by Penske Media. Last year, Digital Music News covered the rebrand of P-MRC Data as Luminate. Luminate’s offerings include MRC Data, Variety Business Intelligence, Music Connect, BDS Radio, and SoundScan.