The Band That Tried to Make Money From Spotify Have Been Banned From Spotify
They recorded an album of silence and asked fans to play it while they slept, hoping to generate profit. It worked! And then they got caught. Whoops!
A month ago we wrote a story about a band that had attempted to cheat Spotify, the $4 billion behemoth of the music industry, into giving them the payout that artists deserve.
The band, who are called Vulfpeck, uploaded a totally silent album and asked fans to play it while they slept, hoping to turn Spotify's $0.007 pay-per-play into something that would help them survive. They generated revenue from the streams and the profit—which ended up being around $20,000—would be used to finance a free-admission tour to places where the album was played the most. Sadly, Spotify emailed the band, telling them that the album violated the site’s terms and conditions and would be taken down. It’s unclear if the Vulpeck will receive the money.
We’ve tried numerous times to contact Spotify but they’ve issued a “no comment” on every occasion, taking on the strategy of “lets not give this band any attention”. Undeterred, Vulfpeck have uploaded a response track called “#Hurt”; pretty ironic when you consider that they’re still able to make money with a track that criticizes the service.
Since Spotify wouldn't talk, I called up Jack Stratton, the band’s dry witted keyboardist, de-facto spokesman, and the dude I spoke to last time, to find out more about the takedown.
Noisey: Jack, why do you think they're taking down Sleepify?
Jack Stratton: I think they panicked when they realised someone was actually making money from the music.
Has the record spawned any copycat albums?
I haven’t heard of any yet but in the email asking us to take it down, they said they were receiving similar silent submissions.
With all the attention you’ve been getting, have you had any crazy business offers yet?
We turned down a $250,000 T-Mobile ad because they never offered it to us in the first place.
Why make an audio statement?
I thought it was the best way to get the word out. Spotify has made an effort to highlight new releases through email and notifications, so I thought it would be the best way to reach the fans.
Have you heard anything more from Spotify after releasing the statement?
No. I’ve been in touch with their Ombudsman in Los Angeles, and we are going to get a nosh Wednesday.
Will you still get the money?
My guess is we will. Spotify pays two months after the listen. So we’ll know in May sometime.
What are you and the band going to do next if you do get the money?
If we get the money we’ll go on tour and use Sleepify sales as the tour budget. It will be a different type of tour. We are going to experiment with what a small group of people can do in front of a larger group of people.
Do you feel like you've made a powerful enemy?
No. As a user of the service, I’m a fan. I make a joke in the Sleepify video about how Spotify will throw in the history of recorded music if you sign up for Sleepify. As a band though, you have to be practicing yoga and eating grass-fed butter to face the coldness of the free market.
Follow Dan on Twitter - @KeenDang