HITS Daily Double

An August 2016 story on Music Business Worldwide alleging the existence of fake bands showing up on Spotify’s top playlists has blown up nearly a year later, thanks to a 7/5 Vulture exposé sourcing that MBW post.

While Spotify declined to comment on the original story, written by MBW’s Tim Ingham, the Vulture post elicited a vehement denial from a Spotify rep over the weekend, which we reported.

Upon reading the Spotify statement, Ingham wasted no time advancing his piece from 10 months ago. In a Sunday post, he listed the names of 50 fake artists, along with their total streams, and asked a reasonable rhetorical question: Why were these fake artists, whose existence Spotify had just vehemently denied, so readily identifiable—and streamable—on its playlists?

The plot thickened in a Monday follow-up Ingham titled “So… Who’s Actually Behind Spotify’s Fake Artists?” In it, he noted a deluge of emails from readers following the previous post “uncovering yet more suspicious acts on the platform—performers who have a very impressive playlist presence on Spotify, but barely any other online credentials. At this stage, from what we’ve seen, we estimate the number of fictional artists on the platform will easily run over a hundred.”

Ingham said he’d been tipped that that these artists are, in fact, producers who are covertly recording and releasing material commissioned—possibly via a third party—by Spotify itself.

By drilling down on the names of the apocryphal acts, Ingham and some of his readers learned that much of this music—racking up more than 75m Spotify streams to date after being selected for various chillout playlists—was the handiwork of veteran Swedish production duo Quiz & Larossi, aka Andreas Romdhane and Josef Svedlund. This revelation was accompanied by the screen shot of the duo, above. Did Spotify commission these tracks, and if so, to what end?

Ingham ended his post by requesting an interview with the busy twosome, hoping to get the answer from the horses’ mouths.