The financial plight artists face because of streaming services is long documented. We know that Cracker earned a paltry $42 from more than one million streams of “Low” on Spotify, and we’ve already seen thepathetic royalty cheques kicking around from artists like Darkest Hour and Janis Ian.
And sure, there have been pushes to fight back. The Black Keys initially held their albums off services like Rdio, and one Australian organized aninexplicable nude protest of streaming services. But nobody showed up to his protest and today you can easily find legal streams of Brothers. So while we’ve seen resistance before, Vulfpeck’s approach is something entirely new.
Their new album, Sleepify, is an entirely silent 10-track collection that the band is using to game Spotify’s royalty system into funding their upcoming tour together.
The Ann Arbor, Michigan based band decided to tour on an entirely free circuit, and to afford hosting free gigs for fans, came up with the idea forSleepify, an album they’re urging fans to stream on repeat while they’re asleep. If you stream the album for 8 hours, that’s 800 listens. And while at $0.005 that amounts to just $4, the idea is still incredibly clever.
As Billboard points out, Spotify needs fans to listen to at least 30 seconds of a song for a play to register, which explains why each track on Sleepify is 31-to-32 seconds long.
To their credit, Spotify executives are taking the stunt in stride.
“This is a clever stunt, but we prefer Vulpeck’s earlier albums,” said Spotify spokesperson Graham James. “’Sleepify’ seems derivative of John Cage’s work.”
That is, obviously, in reference to John Cage’s infamous “4’33,”” a track we’ve covered in the past. Because Spotify isn’t available in Canada, us Northerners aren’t able to, uh, “listen” to Sleepify, but two of the band’s previous albums are available on Rdio for inquiring minds.
Up top, watch the band’s video explaining their thought process behind their totally brilliant Spotify scam.