Will the music industry battle fraud with new ‘code of conduct’ or will it take more?
With a sharp increase in streaming fraud cases on Spotify in the past 12 months, the music industry is planning on combating the issue with a brand new code of conduct. Penned by ‘powerful group of industry organizations', including the three major labels and publishers owned by them, this new 21 point pledge doesn't seem to promise to tackle anything at all.
So what constitutes streaming fraud? It can be for either industry, charting or monetary success by either manually or artificially boosting your streaming number. Also known as ‘click fraud’, whether you’re knowingly using a bot to generate the figures or constantly hitting play on the same track over and over again, as long as the intention is generating higher streaming numbers, you are committing streaming fraud.
The issue has gone a step further as reports emerge of ‘companies’ or more likely freelance individuals, profiting from artists by offering this element of fraud as a service. It may be someone approaching an artist claiming they can boost their streams by thousands or land them big playlists. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is! It should be avoided at all costs.
So why if this code of conduct not going to action any changes? Out of 21 points, no conclusion is made other than streaming fraud may benefit one of the majors at some point in the coming years, so their not going to be too harsh on each other.
Streaming services already have a policy on this; monitoring and cracking down on any flagged activity. Labels also already share intel amongst each other when they suspect suspicious activity. So really not a lot is changing. Summed up at the end of the ‘code of conduct’: “This Code is not legally binding and does not create any contractual or pre-contractual obligations under any law or legal system.”