One Pissed-Off Artist Made an App to Scam Spotify's Royalty Payments

By Chris Mills on at

For as much love as Spotify gets from customers, it draws equal hatred from musicians, who are consistently unhappy with the tiny amount of revenue generated by streaming music. But as the Silicon Valley proverb goes: if you don’t like it, just code an automated app to optimise the problem away (and get paid in the process).

New York-based act Ohm & Sport came up with Eternify, a Spotify app that continually plays 30-second clips from any artist’s back collection. It’s a terrible way to listen to music, but fantastic for the artist: Spotify pays rights-holders each time a user listens to a track, and the service considers a listen to be anything longer than 30 seconds. So by using Eternify, you can effectively send money to an artist of your choosing.

Based on Spotify’s published rates (around £0.003 per stream), it should take under two hours to gift one pound to your artist of choice, so don’t give up the day job yet. But since a Spotify premium membership costs £9.99 per month, the economics would work out badly for Spotify if this ever went truly mainstream.

Understandably, the company isn’t wild about the new idea. It told the BBC it’s currently looking into Eternify to see if the app is in breach of the terms of service (which it almost undeniably is). So, you can probably expect to see the app go the same way as the previous, less hi-tech effort to scam Spotify out of money. [BBC]