Streaming fraud or Artificial Streaming is when an artist uses artificial means to increase their streams.
This is bad. Don't do it.
It's not always obvious that what you're signing up for is fraudulent, such as through "promo" companies who claim that they're creating ads. It's often a scam.
Our streaming partners are constantly working to identify and prevent streaming fraud on their platforms. Note that streaming services reserve the right to remove manipulated content from their platforms. Check out this statement directly from Spotify:
- An artificial stream is a stream that doesn't reflect genuine user listening intent, including any instance of attempting to manipulate Spotify by using automated processes (bots or scripts).
We put significant engineering resources and research into detecting, mitigating, and removing artificial streaming activity on Spotify so that nothing stands in the way of our mission of giving artists the opportunity to live off their art, and so that rights holders are paid as fairly as possible for their work. The integrity of this is incredibly important to us because an illegitimate stream means there are honest, hard-working artists on the other side that are impacted.
If you're caught committing streaming fraud, your music will likely be removed from streaming services and you won't get paid. You may also receive a warning from DistroKid and/or your DistroKid account will be closed.
Sometimes, streaming-fraud stems not from an artist being malicious--but from purchasing a shady marketing campaign. If you're planning on running promotional campaigns for your music, please do your research and only work with reputable companies. There are many so-called marketing companies that appear legit but actually use bots and other shady methods to artificially increase streams. This almost always ends badly. Check out this article for more information on the dangers of shady marketing campaigns.