A recent claim about Spotify by analysts at JPMorgan is sparking a debate that goes right to the top of the company.

According to the Financial Times: “JPMorgan analysts crunched the numbers and found that if someone uploaded their own 30-second track to Spotify, and then programmed their phone to listen to it on repeat 24 hours a day, they would receive $1,200 a month in royalties”.

But after the claim was tweeted by a tech exec, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek responded. “If that were true, my own playlist would just be ‘Daniel’s 30-second Jam’ on repeat! 😉 But seriously, that’s not quite how our royalty system works.”

Can we reverse-engineer JPMorgan’s numbers? A 30-second track on 24-hour repeat would generate 86,400 monthly streams, so $1,200 feels way too high.

The potential royalties would be closer to $300… IF this activity wasn’t detected by Spotify’s existing anti-fraud system.

But in any case, nobody is suggesting that the big problem in streaming manipulation is individuals (Swedish streaming CEOs included) playing their own micro-songs round the clock to  earn a few hundred dollars. It’s about larger-scale bot farms and organised crime.

EarPods and phone

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