Unfortunately, streaming manipulation is something that has existed for some time, and I am sure that many might have never heard of the term. That is why we have decided to dedicate a small educational blog to explain this shady process.

Fake streams help artists rapidly increase their streams, pushing them to reach top charts. This creates tremendous difficulties for other rising artists who are purely dependent on organic reach; it might also harm the music industry if we are talking about the quality of these works. 

Below are two formulas, one for the organic reach, while the other is for the illegitimate reach. 

  • Organic reach formula:

You are heading to work, and on your way, you hear a cool song on the radio; you open your song radar to get the name of the song and save it. Later on, when you meet your friends at night, you mention that you heard a banger song this morning, and some of you like it and add it to their playlist too! Bam! This is a perfect example of organically increasing your streams. Of course, social media marketing and PR are also part of the organic reach because they are just helping the artist to set their feet on the ground without getting involved with the numbers!

However, if we are talking about illegitimately increasing your streams, then this is the straight forward formula:

  • $ = generating streams

The formula mentioned above states that there are actual people who get paid to stream X’s latest song. Yes, you read it correctly.

Streaming manipulation is also known as “artificially inflating,” which is known to be extremely hard to shoot down. This is all because you cannot accuse people of stream manipulations without any evidence. A common way to detect it is, for instance, if a song had 2k streams on Saturday night, and after you rechecked it on Monday and it has reached 500k streams out of the blue, then there is undoubtedly something fishy. 

“Streaming manipulation has been an unfortunate blight on the industry over the past few years,” said John Phelan, who is the director-general of the International Confederation of Music Publishers. “There is a black market for pay-for-play.”

Indie artists are the direct victims of this because the manipulation is happening at the expense of their hard work and talent. It is believed that around 3% to 4% of global streams are manipulated, according to Louis Posen, who refused to share any names. 

Although many major labels, including Sony Music Entertainment, have long been battling against these illegal streams, some artists still decide to spend a pile of money on this shady business and proceed to get their hands dirty with corrupting the industry.

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