The Future. “Sped-up” songs may be all the rage on TikTok, and unauthorized remixes may climb the charts on Spotify, but they’re causing some serious headaches for artists and music-rights holders… even if the tracks are helping the songs break through the noise. But with streaming services like Spotify overhauling how artists receive royalties (and what music matters more than others), the streaming services may have no choice but to start caring about the authenticity of tracks.
A study by music tech firm Plex found at least 1% of all songs on the major streaming services is “modified audio” — or hundreds of millions of tracks per year.
- The majority of those tracks are unlicensed remixes, which diverts millions of dollars away from artists and labels.
- Streaming services aren’t really emboldened to tackle the issue since they’re mostly just interested in capturing subscription payments — what’s on the platform doesn’t matter all that much. It’s a volume business.
- And labels are wrestling with whether to crack down on the modified tracks — they provide a huge marketing boost when they go viral.
So, labels have been trying to find a middle ground, opting only to take down the remixes that are really popular — hopefully, by the time they’re taken down, they’ve spread enough to make people want to find the original song.
But there’s another wrinkle: when the sped-up songs that go viral are actually of leaked songs (which is becoming a growing problem on Spotify). Sure, they blow up, but they undermine the artist and hurt the track’s official release.
No wonder FKA twigs nixed her upcoming album after her songs were leaked.