Submit Your Music
Manipulating Spotify Streams with Streaming Fraud

Manipulating Spotify Streams with Streaming Fraud: Here’s What Can Happen

music streaming: tips and tricks Sep 20, 2021

Streaming Fraud: Be Aware!

The current era of music consumption is heavily dominated by streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music. Music distribution has become easier and very efficient, and almost every song is available to everyone across the globe. Streaming is a process that, on paper, proves to be a win-win situation for everyone involved. The artist is paid more as their Spotify streams increase, while the listener can listen to any song without going through the hassle of downloading it beforehand. 

However, with the number of streams also acting as some sort of a status symbol, a lot of naive indie artists have been getting tempted to try it, and streaming fraud is becoming more and more commonplace in the industry. However, it can easily ruin the trajectory of an artist’s career. 


What is a Streaming Fraud?

Streaming fraud refers to illegal practices that can be used by artists to increase their Spotify streams or forge the statistics on a streaming platform like Spotify. In this, artists pay for streams that are registered by bots or even real people hired to stream tracks, also known as ‘artificial streams.’  This is a very common phrase in the music industry and is also often referred to as ‘streaming manipulation,’ ‘store-end fraud,’ and ‘abnormal streaming activity.’ 

The problem with streaming fraud runs even deeper than buying illegal music. In some cases, you might not even realize that you are partaking in streaming fraud. Several independent playlist curators claim to be legitimate but are actually using illegal methods to increase Spotify streams for its customers. You should always research a Spotify playlist curator before paying them for consideration to their playlists and use only reputable services like SubmitHub and StreamCatcher to pitch your music.

Buying fake Spotify streams is becoming increasingly commonplace. There are a lot of popular third-party sites that offer to provide artists with a specific amount of streams and Spotify playlist placements in exchange for money. These parties, then, usually generate fake streams using bots. And even though it has become easier for people to manipulate streaming, Spotify has been working very hard to try and implement measures to control it and to be a safer space for genuine artists.  

Why Streaming Fraud Isn’t Worth It

1. You Can be Suspended or Removed

With cases of streaming frauds rising, streaming platforms have been taking measures to prevent and punish streaming frauds routinely. If it is ever found that your account has done any illegal activities to increase your streams, strict action can be taken against you. Once you have been caught, your account can be suspended for a long time or, in some cases, be deleted permanently. This will lead you to start the process of distributing music from scratch. If you’re any serious about having a long term career as a musician, this just isn’t worth the risk.


2. You Lose Your Reliability

A higher number of Spotify streams does not mean you are more talented or have a higher chance of becoming successful than other musicians, and fans usually pick up on that. In fact, it can often mean the opposite. If you send your music to a label and they find out that your streams are not real (it’s often obvious), you lose your credibility as an artist. This will hamper your future and might ruin your career. The label can also share this information with the industry making it almost impossible for you to gain footing again. Again, just not worth it.


3. It is Illegal and There Are Safer Options Out There

At the end of the day, it boils down to the fact that you might just be wasting your time, effort, and money. You can instead use the time and money you'd be spending on these illegal payola sites in a better, more effective way to legally get more streams (and real fans) from your music! Again, make sure you always use a reputable Spotify curator. 

Other than that, you can research music marketing and learn how to engage more listeners and increase your audience. There will be several services on the internet that will claim that they can increase your streams by large margins, but taking shortcuts in the present can prove to be harmful in the long run. 


4. It Relies on Taking Revenue From Other Independent Artists

Lastly but very importantly, the artists on streaming platforms are paid according to the number of streams their music generates. But since the majority of streaming platforms work on a revenue system known as a ‘shared pool,’ getting fake streams also translates into stealing from the pockets of other, more deserving artists. If fake Spotify streams are muddling the numbers, the money won’t be given to the small independent artists who deserve it. 


 Here are some other common and effective ways in which you can promote your music instead:

  • Promoting your music on social media via TikToks, Reels and YouTube Shorts
  • Promoting your music with the help of Facebook ads
  • Pitching your songs to Spotify playlist editors
  • Using Spotify For Artist' countless tools to promote your new releases


You might think that fake streams are very hard to trace, but that is not the case. Industry professionals can distinguish very easily between real and fraudulent Spotify streams. In the future, fake streams will just make it worse for you to get more exposure and growth. So when promoting music, choose what you do wisely and always go for the reliable and trustworthy option. Small mistakes can have long-term consequences, and there is no harm in being extra cautious. Here’s Top 4 Mistakes Most Artists Make.

Don't miss my newsletter! 

Join me on a music entrepreneurship journey with new tips and tricks delivered straight to your inbox.

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.

Keep Learning! 🚀

The Importance of Feedback for Your Music

Free Music Marketing Tools for Independent Artists in 2024

Jul 10, 2024

5 TikTok Content Ideas for Musicians

Jul 09, 2024