What is Abnormal streaming activity / Artificial Streaming?
Abnormal streaming activity (also known as streaming manipulation, abnormal store-end behavior, or artificial streaming) occur when Digital Service Providers notify Believe about suspicious streams detected by their systems. Those streams are considered by Digital Service Providers as artificially inflating views, streams, follows, and sales, in order to generate revenue, give a false view on the popularity of a track, or manipulate your release’s popularity in the charts, on playlists, or in search results. This often comes in the form of paying a promotion or playlisting company to help you get more streams, follows, downloads, favorable playlist placement, or general exposure on streaming platforms (Digital Service Provider) with or without your knowledge.
While these services claim to get you legitimate streams and fans, what they are likely doing is utilizing bots to stream your release over and over, or other forms of manipulation in order to increase streams illegally in order to amplify your songs and manipulate their placement among other popular tracks. Although the results may feel like a dream at first, they can quickly devolve into your worst nightmare when a Digital Service Provider discovers the unusual activity related with your release and removes it from their platform - for good.
Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, and all other streaming platforms are taking the abnormal streaming subject very seriously and are implementing more and more tools and processes to identify & track abnormal streaming. In this respect, they routinely check for and remove content that they believe to be violating their terms of service. This can result in a readjustment of your streaming data and royalty calculations or, more likely, the removal of your release or account from the platform. As an example, we encourage you to read the full list of activities that are not permitted under any circumstances in the Spotify User Guidelines.
Possible consequences in case of artificial streaming
As a Believe artist, if you are notified of an abnormal streaming activity and if this pattern is flagged by the Digital Service Providers, the following may apply (non-exhaustive list):
- The Digital Service Providers won’t pay any of the revenue generated through activity deemed abnormal
- The Digital Service Providers will remove the streams considered abnormal from the charts & analytics
- The Digital Service Providers will likely remove your music from the playlists or block your music from useful functions (like the search and recommendations functions for example)
- The Digital Service Providers will likely take down your entire catalog
- Believe will likely send you an official warning, redirecting you to the warning or the punitive action received from the Digital Service Providers.
- Believe may charge you for any penalties received from Digital Service Providers and incurred by abnormal streaming
Believe’s policy and current actions against abnormal streaming
At Believe, we are committed to contributing to making the music industry fairer by finding more effective ways to stop abnormal streaming in its tracks. We strongly believe that fighting against abnormal streaming allows fairness and transparency in the market and, in this way, a better chance for artists to succeed. That means a better chance for you!
We are in constant dialog with the Digital Service Providers about this topic and we are regularly discussing with them how to help eliminate abnormal streaming activity. We see that Digital Service Providers have real people reviewing suspicious streaming numbers while also developing technological systems to identify and combat streaming manipulation, and we are very confident that the tools and processes they are implementing are very efficient and will become more and more so.
Digital Service Providers have developed solid technology to define and detect abnormal streaming activity and have deployed policies to fight abnormal streaming activity.
Even if you think you are working with a legitimate provider that promises real and legitimate streams in exchange for money, there is still a high possibility of non-authorized methods being used.
When in doubt, remember the golden rule: do NOT accept services (furthermore paid services) that promises to boost your streams, followers, or to put you on a Digital Service Providers playlist.
There are legitimate ways to promote your release without risking your revenue or your distribution status. Below are some examples of what is possible to do on the Digital Service Providers platforms to market your work, and all our teams are here to help you do so in the most innovative and efficient ways:
- Pitching songs to playlist editors
- Utilizing Digital Service Providers branding to promote your release
- Sharing on social channels
- Promoting your release with audio ads
At Believe, we are therefore committed to fighting against illegitimate streams and working hard for your success. For further questions on this topic, please do not hesitate to reach out to your Customer Support contact at Believe who will be happy to provide help and advice.