Apple Music has implemented a new policy that includes financial penalties for repeat offenders accused of streaming fraud in an effort to combat the problem. The company has also begun sending daily reports to labels and distributors detailing albums with streams held in review (via Billboard).
These measures are part of a broader industry effort to address the issue of streaming manipulation, which is the deliberate, artificial creation of plays for royalty, chart, and popularity purposes. This can be done in a variety of ways, such as using bots to stream songs repeatedly or creating fake accounts to inflate play counts.
Streaming fraud is a problem because it artificially inflates the popularity of certain songs or artists. This can lead to labels and distributors being paid more royalties than they deserve, while also giving these artists an unfair advantage over others.
Apple Music has taken a number of steps to address streaming fraud, including:
- Implementing a new policy that includes financial penalties for repeat offenders.
- Sending daily reports to labels and distributors detailing albums with streams held in review.
- Removing manipulated streams from its charts.
- Working with industry partners to develop new ways to detect and prevent streaming fraud.
The platform takes stream manipulation very seriously. Apple Music has a team of people dedicated to tracking and investigating any instances where manipulation is suspected. Penalties include cancellation of user accounts, removal of content, termination of distributor agreements, and financial adjustments.
Apple Music spokesperson to Billboard
Apple Music’s new policy has already led to a 30% drop in streaming manipulation. The company says that less than 0.3% of all streams on its platform are now fraudulent. Spotify has said that less than one percent of all streams on its platform have been determined to be tampered with, while Deezer has said that it finds 7% of plays to be fraudulent. However, it is important to note that each service might define fraud differently, and not all of them have ad-supported tiers which can skew the reported figures.
A number of other companies are also taking steps to address streaming fraud. In June, more than half a dozen distributors formed a global task force aimed at eradicating streaming fraud. And in September, Universal Music Group promised to aggressively address fraud and gaming.
Streaming fraud is a serious problem that the music industry is taking steps to address. Apple Music’s new policy is a step in the right direction, and it is likely that other companies will follow suit. By working together, the industry can help to ensure that artists are fairly compensated for their work.