#192: Fake artist controversy and real artist questions

Spotify’s recent “fake artist” issue: a real streaming rights conspiracy, or a whole lot of nothing?  Who gets to decide what a “real artist” is anyway? In this episode, Kevin and Chris talk through the controversy and also answer real emails and real phone calls from real listeners.

Articles referenced in this episode:





  • Thank you for airing my call and answering my questions! You all have ReAlLy cleared the fog of noise on countless topics for my process; keep doing what you’re doing. ALSO, a reasonable amount of banter in the beginning of each episode is totally welcomed because you’re not an Info ATM but Community Leaders. i genuinely appreciate hearing your music journey throughout the years because I one day want to have a wife & kids. http://www.LeRoyMobley.com

  • Interesting comments & observations about “Sweet Child ‘O Mine” being debuted to an indifferent audience. I noticed something similar on Neil Young’s “Live at the Cellar Door” album. The crowd loved the songs he played from his first couple of records… the songs they knew. But when he played the not-yet-released “Heart of Gold”, which ended up being a huge hit and probably Neil’s most popular song, the audience clapped politely but gave off an air of “meh.”

    I’m convinced that most average people just don’t recognize great songs. Songs become great to them through repetition and thus familiarity. It’s human nature.

    It’s also why an “unknown” artist can win over an audience with a few familiar covers sprinkled through their set. I read about an early Elliott Smith show where the audience was totally ignoring him (!!!) until he played a cover of Big Star’s “Thirteen”. Then he had their attention.

    Thanks for continuing to do a great podcast.
    Hand crafted Virginia folk-rock – http://www.SaturdaysRadio.com

  • Julius Coxswain

    How much did Spotify pay you all to deny the impact fake artists/music are having on legit independent artists? Really disappointing analysis on this episode.

  • Linda Vee Sado

    We put up a pocket audio recorder during one gig we did a 14 song set. The first few received polite clapping, by the last song they were screaming for more. It takes time to win over an audiences

  • kbreuner

    Can you show me the “fake” artists that are having a measurable impact on “real” artists with the data that goes along with it? It’s a sensationalized news item used to make excuses. What is a “real” artist compared to a “fake” artist? We work with 650,000 artists at CD Baby and I’ve never heard anyone say that a key blocker in their career is fake artists on Spotify. It wouldn’t even make the list.

  • Robgb

    Let me understand something here. What is a “fake” artist? If someone is making music and posting it under a band name or a pseudonym, how does that make them fake? The music is real, isn’t it? I remember decades ago there was a composer/producer who had three hit songs in three different genres under three different names, all charting around the same time. Did that make him fake? (I wish I could remember his real name, but I can’t). I really don’t quite understand what the problem is here.

  • Ok I have to chime in and that I’m “DAMN” lucky to be included on the Peaceful Guitar playlist on spotify, where only 6 out of 59 total tracks appear to be “real” artist with a “footprint”.. I realize the other folks are real musicians under pseudonyms, for what reason I haven’t a clue, unless there was a deal made where royalties were a less rate or something.. but again that doesn’t make sense, as I’m number 6 on the list and not at the end.. So far it’s a huge contribution to my spins. I believe that I actually got picked on this playlist as a result of emailing curators, asking people to include me on their playlist and following some of the tricks and marketing techniques provided in the CDbaby getting on playlist PDF! I’m also on Acoustic Concentration playlist, but Peaceful guitar is getting a ton of action! 130,000 streams for me in the first week of being on it! Really enjoyed the episode guys! Good job! See you at DIY conference!

  • kbreuner

    Nice! Thanks for sharing.

  • Enjoyed the diy conference a lot! It pretty inspiring and motivational!

  • Nishi Hundan

    How depressing