IFPI, which represents the global recording industry, and BVMI, the recorded music body in Germany, have announced the successful shutdown of Germany-based streaming manipulation service, SP-Onlinepromotion.com.
The operators of the site are now legally prohibited from offering manipulation services in the future.
SP-Onlinepromotion.com was a widely used platform that illegally provided artificial ‘plays,’ ‘views,’ or ‘streams’ on DSPs like Spotify, which did not reflect genuine listenership. IFPI says this practice not only diminishes the fan experience but also undermines the accuracy of music charts, ultimately threatening royalty payments to music creators from streaming services.
“Streaming manipulation has no place in music. The practice constitutes fraud and the perpetrators and enablers of this illegal activity cannot be allowed to divert revenue away from the artists who create the music that is loved by fans and which drives legitimate engagement with streaming services,” said IFPI Chief Executive, Frances Moore,
“Streaming manipulation has no place in music. The practice constitutes fraud and the perpetrators and enablers of this illegal activity cannot be allowed to divert revenue away from the artists who create the music.”
Frances Moore, IFPI
“This is an issue that the whole music industry must continue to take action to prevent. We are pursuing further targets and this most recent success in Germany serves to demonstrate how we are committed to addressing the issue globally.”
Dr. Florian Drücke, Chairman & CEO of BVMI, added: “The top priority for BVMI and its members is a properly functioning streaming market because distortion and manipulation harm artists as well as their partners. They jeopardize the accuracy of royalty payments and call the credibility of the charts into question.”
“As is well known, we have therefore been consistently and successfully taking legal action against unfair business practices impacting the market for several years and we will keep on doing so.”
The development marks the latest in a series of global actions taken against manipulation services.
“The top priority for BVMI and its members is a properly functioning streaming market because distortion and manipulation harm artists as well as their partners.”
Dr. Florian Drücke, BVMI
In 2021, summary proceedings were initiated before the Regional Court of Frankfurt, preventing the operator of a streaming manipulation service from generating additional plays, views, likes, and subscribers for music on commercial online media platforms.
Similar decisions were secured by the Regional Courts of Darmstadt, Bremen, Hamburg, and Cologne in August 2020, in proceedings brought by BVMI and IFPI against operators of various music manipulation services including socialnow.de, socialgeiz.de, likergeiz.de, netlikes.de and likesandmore.de.
In March 2020, both organizations secured a court-ordered injunction against followerschmiede.de at the Berlin Regional Court. Additionally, the music industry has achieved similar successes in other regions, such as Brazil, and is actively working alongside government agencies and intermediaries in different countries to prevent the operation of such services.
Earlier this year, the IFPI and the BVMI took successful legal action against the individual hosting the stream-ripping software YouTube-DL, with the Hamburg Regional Court issuing an injunction requiring the individual to stop hosting the software.
In January, IFPI, in conjunction with IMI, the representative body for music labels in India, coordinated what they described to be the first-ever successful effort to block stream-ripping sites in the country.
Back in June, a global task force called Music Fights Fraud was formed by Spotify, Amazon Music, CD Baby and its parent company Downtown, TuneCore and its parent company Believe, DistroKid, EMPIRE and more to clamp down on streaming fraud and streaming manipulation across digital streaming services.
Music Business Worldwide