Welcome to The Cheater’s Guide to Spotify, a series about the schemes that rack up streams, money, and infamy on the popular streaming service.
Ever played some white noise on Spotify while you fall asleep? There’s a decent chance a U.K.-based company called Ameritz created it — though you wouldn’t know that from looking at Spotify.
“Truly brainless to produce,” a former in-house sound designer for Ameritz told OneZero via email, requesting anonymity due to potential professional repercussions. “You’ve no idea of the amount of time I spent recording fans (computer fans, oven fans, desk fans… basically anything you can think of!).”
Primarily through a shell label called Peak Records, Ameritz fuels hundreds of generically named Spotify artist pages, such as White Noise Baby Sleep and Relaxing Music Therapy, with literal static. There appears to be a real appetite on the platform for music to play while you fall asleep, with some of these artist pages reaching hundreds of thousands to millions of streams every day, according to data viewed by OneZero via Spotify for Artists. With Spotify paying around a third of a penny per stream, revenue from few of these top accounts can be comfortably estimated at upwards of $1 million per year, each.
Though internal Spotify rules from 2017, acquired by OneZero, ban SEO terms from being used as artist names and track titles, Ameritz continues to feed keyword-rich projects to hundreds of “sleep music” artist accounts, often reposting the same content to pages over and over again, ultimately spamming Spotify with an immense number of tracks.
Ameritz isn’t the only company releasing search engine optimized hissing noises and ambient drones to a network of pages to make some quick cash — the others are often just more difficult to track down. A close look at generic “relaxing music” pages suggests there are a handful of specific businesses dedicated to the practice, from small…