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Are Spotify Using Fake Artists In Their Playlists?

14 September 2022 | 2:50 pm | Parry Tritsiniotis

In Spotify's 'mood playlists', a series of artists always dominate their top halves. Many of them have no digital footprint and a lot of them credit the exact same songwriters. Why are these mechanically created songs taking the place of real artists and bands who are working hard to grab these slots?

There's a growing call online from people alleging that Spotify are adding "fake" artists in their mood playlists at the expense of working (and often struggling) musicians. 

A report earlier this year by DN suggests that company Firefly Entertainment were providing tracks which were being added to well known Spotify playlists. The pseudonymous artists on the streaming platform have no online presence or Spotify profile imprint, yet are still dominating in the Spotify chill out and mood playlists.

The cumulative streams of these artists are now in the millions. Many are asking the question why these allegedly "fake" artists are taking these highly competitive placements over artists who are out grinding, performing shows, recording creative real music and doing their absolute best to make a living off being an artist?

The report by DN obtained a list of 830 allegedly fake artists linked to Fireflywith 495 of them at the top of first-party Spotify playlists. The investigation also found that over 500 of the allegedly fake artists have been created by only 20 songwriters.

One of the mood playlists is Jazz In The Background which lands in first place when you search for Jazz on the platform. It is created by Spotify, with over 750,000 likes. In the playlist, acts such as Hara Noda, Meadow Park, Jaden Berry, Wildflower Trio, Jean-Baptiste Rees, Three Four Trio, John B. Stewart, Foster Davies all populate the top half of the playlist. 

None of the above mentioned artists have any digital footprint or artist images on their artist profile, only a range of stock images. All of these acts are gathering millions and millions of streams. They all feature in both the Jazz In The Background playlist and the Chilled Jazz playlist.

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TikToker dritzbitz had a closer look at the playlist and found that at the time he checked out the playlist, it took him 88 artists to find one that he recognised.