You may have noticed the proliferation of cover versions of famous songs on streaming music services, but have you ever *really* looked at them? Or, indeed, listened? We’ve been boggling at the not-quite-facsimiles of Call Me Maybe and Gangnam Style on a Spotify playlist created by The Echo Nest as part of its blog post explaining “the sneaky techniques used by musical spammers to ‘game the system’ in music services — and how we stop them from succeeding”. It notes that some ‘cloners’ even manage to get their tracks into bona-fide digital distribution networks with the cloned song’s artist name attached – while some have even charted in Billboard’s rankings.  Why is The Echo Nest trying to identify these frauds? “It’s very easy to predict whether a listener wants to hear any of these tracks. The answer is almost always ‘no,’ so we want to leave spammers out of recommendations and playlists — particularly the ones who impersonate music that people really do want to hear, because that’s extra annoying,” explains senior software engineer Aaron Mandel.

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