Bots and other forms of streaming manipulation are well and truly on the music industry’s radar in 2023. ‘Music Fights Fraud‘ is the latest initiative trying to tackle it.
Described as a “global task force aimed at eradicating streaming fraud”, its founder members are mainly distributors (CD Baby plus parent firm Downtown; Believe and its TuneCore subsidiary; DistroKid; UnitedMasters and Symphonic) plus Empire and Vydia.
However, two of the biggest global streaming services are also signed up: Spotify and Amazon Music.
What are they going to do? “Detect, prevent, mitigate and enforce anti-fraud measures,” with the help of cybercrime-battling organisation NCFTA. Sharing information between the members, and collaborating on anti-fraud measures will be key.
It’s a welcome initiative, after one recent study in France’s estimating that between 1% and 3% of total music streams were ‘false’.
That said, Music Fights Fraud’s claim to represent “for the first time, all corners of the music industry aligning as a united front to combat fraud in music streaming” is a stretch.In 2019 an ‘Anti-Stream Manipulation Code of Best Practice’ was backed by global body the IFPI; all three major labels; Sony/ATV; Merlin; Spotify, Amazon and Deezer; and other industry bodies.