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Over one million “manipulated” tracks found on streaming platforms

A new study has found there are over one million “manipulated” tracks on streaming platforms.

Pex is a tech company that tracks and analyses copyrighted content on digital services. According to their data from November 2023, there are over one million tracks that have been sped-up, slowed-down or otherwise “modified” in places like Spotify, Apple Music and TIDAL. Examples include a sped-up version of Lady Gaga‘s ‘Bloody Mary‘ (25 million streams) and Childish Gambino’s ‘Heartbeat‘ (19 million streams).

These “manipulated” tracks usually do not have legal licensing to be used, meaning they are infringing on copyright. The original artists therefore do not collect royalties on the song’s streams.

In a new interview with Music Business World, Pex CEO Rasty Turek said “there is [a] huge following of people trying to essentially enjoy content like this. Nightcore mixes, and so on. And I do think that there is a legitimate seed to the movement. If people enjoy this kind of music, they should absolutely have access to it.

“But at the same time, proper attribution should be required,” he continued. “And this is much more up to the platforms and services than it is up to the artist to essentially go and fish out.”

A laptop keyboard and Spotify logo displayed on a phone screen are seen in this illustration photo taken in Krakow, Poland on May 7, 2023. (Photo by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Spotify has been trying to combat the large number of songs being uploaded on their platform, along with shifting royalty allocation. It was revealed this month that around a quarter of music on streaming services didn’t get played at all.

That followed the news of Spotify’s policy change, which would require all songs on the platform to have a minimum of 1,000 streams before they can earn any royalties.

Recently, the European Union has called for changes to the streaming business, asking for higher royalty payments for artists as well as “correctly allocating metadata” to make artists’ works more visible.

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