Publishing News

Digital Music Companies Band Together to Combat Streaming Fraud With New Task Force

Jul 5, 2023

Several digital music companies, including CD Baby, TuneCore, DistroKid, UnitedMasters, Symphonic, EMPIRE, Downtown and Vydia, along with popular digital service providers Spotify and Amazon Music, have joined forces in a historic alliance called Music Fights Fraud.

Music Fights Fraud is a global task force aimed at eradicating streaming fraud.

The move, announced this week, marks the first time all sectors of the music industry have joined together to crack down on streaming fraud worldwide.

Additional companies will be announced in due course.

According to a press statement, members of Music Fights Fraud are strong supporters of artists’ rights who have taken steps within their own companies to tackle fraud. With this task force, they aim to create a better music industry where real artists can succeed.

Streaming abuse, which includes things like fake plays and impersonators, affects all artists, both independent and signed to labels. It’s estimated that this abuse costs the industry hundreds of millions of dollars every year.

The alliance will collaborate with the National Cyber-Forensics and Training Alliance (NCFTA), a non-profit that helps identify and disrupt cybercrime.

“We are proud to combine forces with our colleagues across the industry and build on the fantastic work already developed at Downtown to identify and address abusive streaming behaviour,” Downtown CEO Andrew Bergman said. “Given our deep commitment to empowering creators, we recognise that working with parties outside of our organisation is also an important step in developing a comprehensive plan to strengthen the music ecosystem.”

Spotify’s VP, global head of music product Charlie Hellman, said: “It is critical to the Spotify mission that royalties are paid to legitimate artists for legitimate streams. Artificial streaming is an industry-wide issue, and we are encouraged by the collaboration of this new alliance.”

CD Baby CEO Christine Barnum added: “As streaming has grown and dominated our industry the opportunities for bad actors to take advantage of the fragmentation has grown as well. I am proud for CD Baby to be a founding member of Music Fights Fraud and for us to join forces to build a united and comprehensive solution to ensure all music creators are being compensated, with royalties generated making it to the right hands.”

“As we build the future of our industry, we must ensure fake streaming and abusive streaming do not have a place,” Believe’s founder and CEO, Denis Ladegaillerie, said. “The launch of Music Fights Fraud is an important step towards that goal, and I am proud to join hands with our digital music partners and distributors to ensure we find effective ways to stop fraud streaming, to ultimately bring more fairness and transparency to the music sector.”

On her part, TuneCore CEO Andreea Gleeson noted that streaming fraud hurts legitimate music creators by reducing their earnings. “TuneCore is joining other leading digital distributors and streaming platforms to fight against this fraud and create a fairer streaming landscape for all artists,” she noted.

UnitedMasters General Counsel Shirin Keen noted that her outfit is “working to provide our artists with the tools and education they need to grow their fanbases and own their futures. To do that, we must tackle one of the issues plaguing the industry and reducing the earnings of independent artists, streaming fraud. This alliance represents unity across the industry that will advance and impact all artists, and we’re proud to be a part of it.”

Symphonic founder and CEO Jorge Brea stressed the strength in numbers and the power of collaboration between distributors and DSPs to compile transparent knowledge and take effective action, while EMPIRE’s chief product officer, Stephen White, noted that this industry-wide initiative marks an unprecedented and significant stride forward in protecting the rights of creators.”

Vydia’s VP of rights and content Matthew Skiba said his outfit is “proud to champion this cause, alongside other industry leaders, to create parity amongst artists and labels in the streaming ecosystem.”

Supporting associations, such as the Music Business Association (Music Biz) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), have applauded the initiative and expressed their commitment to supporting the alliance’s efforts.

Music Fights Fraud is a self-governing association with future membership subject to approval by its members. Parties interested in joining Music Fights Fraud can find more information here