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There’s money in music streaming, and there’s expected to be much more in the years ahead.

$17.5bn of revenue for labels alone in 2022 according to the IFPI, and potentially $80.3bn of gross revenues by 2030 according to Goldman Sachs.

No wonder criminal gangs are prodding to see if they can get a piece of the action illegally.

The latest report on this comes from Swedish news outlet Svenska Dagbladet, with a story whose headline in translation reads ‘Spotify has become an ATM for criminals’.

How? Money laundering.

Essentially the gangs use the money they make from their other criminal endeavours to pay for fraudulent Spotify streams of tracks that they own or have an interest in.

“Spotify has become a bank machine for the gangs. There’s a direct link to the gangs and the deadly violence,” one police officer told Svenska Dagbladet, while accusing Spotify of not taking the problem seriously enough.

Spotify has denied that in a statement to AFP, calling fraudulent streams “an industry-wide challenge and Spotify has been working hard to address this issue”.

It added that “less than one percent of all streams on Spotify have been determined to be artificial and those are promptly mitigated prior to any payouts”.

Still, this week’s report is likely to increase pressure on the company to be as transparent as possible about its anti-fraud work – while walking the tightrope of not revealing information that could help criminals evade those measures.

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