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The undercurrents of the future. A publication from Medium about technology and people.

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The Cheater’s Guide to Spotify

Search engine optimized accounts that publish hundreds of nearly identical tracks rake in streams and profits

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. …


The Cheater’s Guide to Spotify

The platform is filled with search-optimized spammers, and there’s no end in sight

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.

You’ve probably never heard of them, but Relaxing Music Therapy has had a pretty damn successful music career. At least, on Spotify.

This “artist” has more than 500,000 monthly listeners on the platform, all thanks to One Simple Trick: optimizing their name to show up prominently in Spotify’s search results.

Spotify is full of “artists” like this: Pro Sound Effects Library, On Hold Music, Yoga, Jazz Music Therapy for Cats, and Natural White Noise Best Nature…


Search data holds great potential for predicting the spread of a disease

A man wearing a face mask types into his phone.
A man wearing a face mask types into his phone.

Even if all you could see of humanity during the pandemic was our internet search data, you’d know something was wrong. Google searches for the word “prayer” have boomed to the highest level ever recorded in a sample of 95 countries, according to a recent preprint.

And Google’s predictive search tool, which offers to complete your query before you’ve finished typing it, seems to have soaked up the pandemic-themed questions and concerns tumbling around people’s heads.

Type “when will” into Google and the first suggested query will likely be along the lines of “when will lockdown end.” “Do I have”…


Hint: Blame Google

It’s a struggle as old as the internet itself. You Google a simple recipe and you get, at best, a fluffy description, and at worst, a lengthy narrative. You scroll until your finger falls off, and then, finally, you find an actual recipe. To anyone who previously looked up recipes in actual books, this is an egregious violation of the sacred Dewey decimal system.

Looks tasty, but I’m gonna need a LOT more backstory.

This is even true of very short recipes. Take the BLT, for example. This sandwich has most of the instructions in the name. …

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