Atlantic Records’ recent bot scandal has opened a new window of speculation about record labels and their artists.
Are The Engagement And Streaming Numbers Real?
Many in the music industry are being accused of adopting cunning techniques like album stuffing, playlist stuffing, streaming farms, and streaming data inflation, to name a few. Large recording companies and even major artists are being blamed for manipulating stream counts, number of views, chart positioning, and so on. They do this to increase market share, earn royalty payments, and for many other illicit reasons.
Since the good old days, labels have been known for paying radio stations and DJs to constantly play their artists’ songs on the radio, making them popular. This type of undercover agreement and secret payment is called payola. Today, the same concept is being applied to streaming services, except this time they are buying fake streams.
Apparently, labels use streaming farms to help artificially increase streams, creating “Hits” and therefore earning more money. How do they work? The tech “mimics fans listening to the same song hundreds of times at a specific period of time.”
In addition to getting a song to reach the top of the charts, streaming farms can also make labels more money from royalties. The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer all over again. As big recording companies and popular stars get even more popular, independent labels and artists receive a bigger blow.
The latest of the labels being accused of such behavior is Atlantic Records. The American recording company has had a difficult past couple of days after the news of bot usage broke on the internet. It is being blamed for increasing the number of views on many of its artists’ videos, particularly rapper and singer-songwriter Don Toliver’s “Do It Right.”
What Did Atlantic Records Reply?
The company replied to the accusations by saying, "Atlantic Records has never used bots for any of our artists." A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, 100 gecs, Charlie Puth, Coldplay, Kodak Black, YoungBoy Never Broke Again, Weezer, and among others are signed with Atlantic Records. The social media community is pointing fingers at a long list of artists, although it’s unclear whether they are involved in the alleged claims.
Along with Toliver, Lil Uzi Vert, and Roddy Ricch, are also being speculated. Toliver’s rep released a statement saying, “While we conduct our own investigation into the allegations, we urge Atlantic Records to do the same—to protect the integrity of not only their roster of artists but their reporting metrics.”
The fact is, it’s really difficult to run a fair system. Bots have become part of the normal way of conduct and to make them disappear altogether is close to impossible. The only way to go is to trust that record labels, managers, and artists will rely on authentic and real engagement rather than bots.
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