An Enterprising Band Made $20,000 Scamming Spotify
A Los Angeles band figured out a way to make $20,000 from Spotify by doing absolutely nothing.
The royalties started pouring in after Los Angeles band Vulfpeck wrote Sleepify, a completely silent album, and posted it to Spotify.
The scheme, intended to fund a tour of free shows, called for fans to stream the silent album through the night as they slept.
The band's fanbase is small—about 1,000 or so—and Spotify's royalty rate is only $.007 a stream, but the overnight plays began to add up.
Fans played the album nightly, each generating up to $3 as they slept, according to an interview in Vice. Spotify soon owed Vulfpeck a $20,000 royalty check.
Eventually the streaming service figured out what was going on.
"It's a clever stunt but we prefer Vulfpeck's earlier albums," Spotify spokesman Graham James said. "Sleepify seems derivative of John Cage's work."
Of course Spotify's sense of humor only goes so far—last week they made Vulfpeck remove the album, citing a violation of their terms and conditions.
UPDATE: As the band points out, they haven't actually received the full check—yet. "My guess is we will," Vulfpeck keyboardist Jack Stratton told Vice. "Spotify pays two months after the listen. So we'll know in May sometime."