In October last year, we wrote about an 89-episode podcast that suddenly appeared on Spotify, with every episode consisting simply of a demo, remix or rarity from Britney Spears – clearly NOT an official project. It was quickly removed from the platform. Now Pitchfork has published an investigation suggesting that ‘bootleg podcasts’ are a wider problem that Spotify is battling.
It starts with the tale of reggaeton artist Juhn’s cover of Drake’s ‘In My Feelings’ being uploaded to Spotify as a podcast, after the track went viral on TikTok but wasn’t available on streaming platforms. There’s also a podcast charting high on Spotify called ‘Bantal Empuk’, featuring non-album tracks from the likes of Juice Wrld, XXXTentacion, and Lil Pump “with each song represented as a single ‘episode,’ and none of the, you know, talking commonly associated with the podcast format”.
Pitchfork suggests that podcasts may be a new route for user-generated bootlegs to find their way on to Spotify, although it also carries the company’s response. “We take this mislabeled content extremely seriously,” said a spokesperson. “Spotify has multiple detection measures in place monitoring consumption on the service to detect, investigate and deal with such activity.”