Bots beware, Spotify is cracking down on artificial streaming.
Spotify took down tens of thousands of songs created by artificial-intelligence startup Boomy, reports Financial Times(opens in a new tab). The streaming giant removed the songs after Universal Music flagged the songs for suspicious streaming activity. The songs were withdrawn from the platform because of suspected use of bots to inflate streams, a practice known as artificial streaming.
While AI anxiety has been rising in the music industry, particularly over copyright concerns, these takedowns were not directly related to the methods used to generate the songs, but rather how they got their streaming counts.
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Boomy launched two years ago and allows users to produce AI-generated music based on styles and descriptors like “meditation” or “lofibeats.” Then users can upload Boomy created tracks to streaming platforms and earn royalties off of them. According to its website(opens in a new tab), Boomy has produced over 14.5 million songs which they say is nearly 14% of the world’s recorded music. Spotify reportedly took down 7% of Boomy’s tracks.
“Artificial streaming is a longstanding, industry-wide issue that Spotify is working to stamp out across our service,” Spotify told The Financial Times.
In Spotify’s quarterly financial call in April(opens in a new tab), CEO Daniel Elk described AI-generated music as “cool and scary” and remarked that it “could be potentially huge for creativity.” But Elk also noted that the music industry has “legitimate concerns” about the rise of AI-generated music and said, “We’re working with our partners on trying to establish a position where we both allow innovation but, at the same time, protect all of the creators that we have on our platform.”
This takedown comes a month after Universal called for streaming services to crack down on AI-generated music(opens in a new tab) because of copyright concerns. Just after, music execs nightmares came true when an AI-generated Drake and The Weeknd collab, “Heart On My Sleeve” went viral on TikTok, Twitter, and YouTube. While the track was removed from streaming platforms due to copyright infringements, it brought forth a new wave of AI anxiety.