Wondering who Dimeback was

There are plenty of musical acts you never heard of. Most of them, even Kathleen Turner Overdrive, actually exist. And then there are the ones who don’t:

According to a lengthy piece pinned to Vulture, Spotify has been reportedly paying producers to create songs under fake names. Filling its playlists with fake artists, Spotify saves money that would otherwise be allocated to real artists demanding the reasonable streaming checks that come with prime placement in its premium playlists. By placing these fake tracks in high-ranking playlists, the company “limits the opportunities for real music-makers to make money,” according to Vulture’s Adam K. Raymond. Spotify didn’t respond to the claim.

Then again, there is fake, and there is fake, and some of these characters who do exist probably ought not to. Says Raymond:

With 65 albums, most with more than 50 tracks, Sir Juan Mutant appears at first glance to be among the most prolific artists on Spotify. But dig a little deeper and it quickly becomes clear that something fishy is going on. Several of the albums use the same artwork, while others have many of the same songs. Take, as a representation of his catalogue, the album Cash the System, which has 50 tracks and clocks in at over 11 hours. The first track, “Can’t Pay You,” is just over three minutes of noodling on a distorted guitar. The 10th track, “Did You Distort Their Minds,” is the exact same song, as is the 11th track, “The Same Agreement,” the 12th track “Bubble Gum,” and the 17th track “Did You Put that Man on Fire.”

This is classic keyword spam. By flooding Spotify with song titles, Sir Juan Mutant is increasing his odds that someone will accidentally listen to one. And each time someone does, his bank account grows by a fraction of a cent.

For the hell of it, I dialed up YouTube — I have no Spotify subscription — and found several of Sir Juan’s tracks. An example:

I’ve heard worse than “That Is To Say,” and probably so have you.

(Via Dallas music critic Preston Jones, who quipped: “In hindsight, Tuney McTuneface was a step too far.”)


  1. fillyjonk »

    7 July 2017 · 7:01 am

    Sounds almost like a job for those AIs that allegedly compose “music,” Spotify could own those and line their pockets (so to speak) every time one of the tracks got played.

    I dunno but I can’t help but think that somewhere, Bert Schneider is laughing.

  2. McG »

    7 July 2017 · 7:11 am

    “While My Guitar Gently Plays All by Itself” by The Tables

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